For a band that were dropped by Astralworks Records early this year, L.A.'s The Little Ones have done well to get this album out so promptly, especially since they also filled the gap with April's Terry Tales and Fallen Gates EP. The title track's series of light and delicate doo doo doos open this debut album in a perfect example of the kind of hooks with which this album is filled - the kind that stick in your head, no matter how much you wish they wouldn't. The root of this may be their "Rule of Feet," whereby songs only made the cut if each band member's "feet could shuffle," leaving them at once with a selection of radio-friendly summer tunes to bop the night and day away, as well as a regrettable constraint within their genre.
Previous comparisons to The Beach Boys, The Zombies and The Kinks give The Little Ones too much credit. Sure, they have the same kind of bright and breezy summertime feel, tuneful melodies and occasional use of reverb, but such comparisons suggest strong vocals and blow you away harmonies, where the harmonies here are quite standard. In fact, Ed Reyes' shallow vocals let The Little Ones down as they struggle under strain in such moments as Like A Spoke on A Wheel's unforgiving key change (incidentally, a moment that adds to the grating of its repeated simple simile - "Like a spoke on a wheel I turn, I turn around and round.")
Seemingly, the record is designed as a whole, as lyrics repeat over various songs, but if The Little Ones also intended to carry melodic themes across the album, it merely sounds samey. By Track 6, Gregory's Chant, you wonder have you accidentally put your ipod on repeat mode or is that just a really similar riff to the last song? That said, there are plenty of little details that charm, and moments that stand out, like the ending of Everybody's Up To Something where a rare use of strong bass alongside a subtle piano line build, before the repetition of "I heard the march of a million strong" makes for some serious singalong action.