It's so simple, really. Slap the title "Ordinary Song" on your first single and watch as fans swarm to what is possibly the finest song of this calendar year. True to its name, the Little Ones' "Ordinary Song" feels extraordinarily ordinary, a song that keenly balances the familiar with a fresh and shimmering pop hook that is downright undeniable. Of course, you haven't heard it before—unless you have literally heard it before courtesy of the band's precise live performance—hence the brilliance of the name. Coupled with a glorious video that illustrates, in a dizzying Wes Anderson sort of way, how the ordinary tune makes the rounds from studio to airwaves to bedroom—and you have the makings of a hit. Well, as much of a hit as you can have these days, anyway.
Yet, as stories of triumph often go, this one almost never came to be. Bruised and battered from the major label ringer—Astralwerks kicked the band to the curb following their debut EP, Sing Song—the Little Ones self-released the stopgap Terry Tales and Fallen Gates EP earlier this year as they sat and waited for a partner to deliver their bouncy pop full-length, Morning Tide. Eventually they found their suitor; the Atlantic Records-distributed Chop Shop Records (home to the soundtrack of the Mormon teenage vampire flick Twilight), who released Morning Tide to the stateside masses last month (the band, whose popularity across the pond eclipses their draw here, is carried on Heavenly Records in the UK).
In addition to the hard-to-ignore appeal of "Ordinary Song," the album is methodically littered with brilliant pop gems that hearken back to the songwriting precision of the Zombies alongside the modern carefree ease of the Shins. "Everybody's up to Something" pins singer Ed Reyes' lively vocal melody to a rumbling and loose rock song, complete with thumping piano, wild shout-along backing vocals, and a reckless guitar line. The hooks keep coming with the animated wonder of "All Your Modern Boxes," whose mammoth chorus comes presented as a towering mass of intertwined vocals. Palatable pop music is a common—if not overly frequent—occurrence, but throughout Morning Tide the Little Ones delicately expand on the genre to create ordinary songs with exquisite results.
The Little Ones perform at the Doug Fir on Tuesday, November 11.