Despite accusations of label interference and lack of direction, we loved Little Boots’ first album, Hands. We will admit though, when that album was finally released there did seem like a bit of a disconnect between the artist we had been watching grow for the previous couple of years and the one Hands presented. Whilst the songs on it were pretty amazing, and still are, there seemed to be a lack of the personality that shone though in her first few EPs. Still, the album is a favourite of ours, and Victoria herself is a shining beacon for ElectroPop in the UK (no disowning ElectroPop and recording a Folk second album for her!). Her sophomore record, Nocturnes, is out this week, and this one sounds like Little Boots. Every beat of the album oozes with personality. Difficult second album? Boots makes it look easy.
Some may have felt that the atmospheric, Kraftwerkian Motorway was an odd choice of a single, but as an album opener it’s indisputably perfect. As a single it felt moody and introspective, but as the first beats of Nocturnes it becomes a majestic call-to-arms, an electronic love letter between Victoria and the listener, an invite to the rest of the album. This is followed swiftly by Confusion, a track which lays down the Chicago House influenced law. Yet beneath the deep bassline and warehouse beats this really is the same Pop princess we came to love in 2008, and that’s the beauty of Nocturnes, it’s loaded with pitch perfect Pop songs that have been wrapped in a blanket of rich House grooves that compliment, not smother, the catchy songwriting Little Boots has always displayed. Co-production from DFA’s Tim Goldsworthy probably adds to this formula’s success, bringing his minimal sensibilities to balance Victoria’s big songs and passion for 90s House. Current single Broken Record is the pinnacle example of this. If there is a more prefect mix of infectious ElectroPop and cool-as-hell House, we’re yet to hear it. Most of Little Boots recent single are present and correct on Nocturnes. The aforementioned Motorway and Broken Record sit alongside the slightly older Every Night I Say A Prayer and Shake, all of which have trickled out, in a slightly low-key manner, in the past year or so but when you listen to them together in this context you really realise that a) Little Boots has produced some of the most exciting music in recent months and b) there was always a plan. The only omission of Nocturnes when it comes to the single is Headphones, which was perhaps considered too Poppy for this collection, but it is sorely missed. So, to the new tracks that appear here. Beat Beat is the closes we get to Little Boot’s DiscoPop of old, perhaps because (we think) this is the oldest song here. It’s upbeat mirrorball vibe is an island amidst the strobe light cool. Crescendo provides one of the records’ surprise highlights, a raw Pop track that comes layered with dramatic piano and impassioned vocals. Strangers and All For You both show a gentle, yet compelling, side to Little Boots House-Pop which ease you into the albums closer, Satellites. Closing the record on an immense high Satellites appears the pinnacle mixture of everything Little Boots from 2008 to the present. Big ElectroPop, House basslines, euphoric choruses, everything we love about Victoria Hesketh, and it’s on this track that her sweet, yet dramatic and resonant, vocals shine their brightest. To say Nocturnes has been eagerly awaited would be an understatement, and, thankfully, it has lived up to our expectations. Whist lacking some of the Pop sheen of Hands, this record takes us down dark alleyways of club cool delivering tracks to loose yourself in on the dancefloor, but with the same tracks gives you something you’ll come away humming. Definitely recommended.
♫ Little Boots – Every Night I Say A Prayer
♫ Little Boots – Broken Record
♫ Little Boots – Motorway
♫ Little Boots – Shake
Little Boots’ Nocturnes is released today.
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