When you have an artist whose crossover potential rounds up the cool kids as well as the pop nerds, it’s hard not to prick your ears up and take notice. After all, if history supplies us correctly, that kind of “branding” has served us well in the past; Robyn, Lykke Li and, you know, every other female artist from Sweden. But Little Boots, known as Victoria Hesketh to Mr and Mrs Hesketh of England, with the right piping, could end up a member of Pop’s “new breed” a few people have bung on about, joining the likes of Roisin Murphy and Antigone in that sort of divine league of their own. Forward-thinking women who are powering through the ‘barriers’ with their unique musical talent, combined with incredible pop sensibilities. It’s still too early to tell whether Victoria can achieve this during her career span (however long that may be), but if this debut is anything to go by, we could be onto a winner.
New In Town, the first official single, dazzles as an opener; that synth introduction is so spikey and fresh to the ears, it’s a real wonder this didn’t ignite with single buyers more than it did. Then there’s the cosmic raved-up lovechild of Giorgio Moroder and Kylie Minogue’s Can’t Get You Out Of My Head; the iconic Stuck On Repeat. Meddle, with its chaotic and destructive dubstep leanings sits comfortably amongst the ferociously disjointed Ghosts, which cheekily toys with the members of a marching band to deliver its namesakes spook-factor.
Earthquake, with its disjointed construction, shines through with the exceptionally placed line “coz I can’t stand it, when you come and we just fight for hours,” and the disco-funk of Rich Boys embodies such a large persona from the second it starts, it’s near impossible to deny how darn classy it is. You can just picture Baccara performing it in their heyday, albeit with English As A Fifth Language pronunciation.
There are some minor let-downs. Click starts off incredibly, but loses momentum once the vocals kick in. Its biggest crime though is that it has a forgettably boring chorus, particularly when the verse right before it actually makes you think it could be going somewhere.
Remedy, with its joyful “dancing is my remedy” chorus is saved from being filler with incredible production elements through it, Mathematics takes what is officially the most boring and confusing subject to me (numbers, I cannot has them) and turns it into a quirky love ditty. Mathematics as an analogy of love; it is literally the cutest thing I’ve heard in pop for a long time.
The truly triumphant moment on “Hands”, however, is Boots’ duet with Human League’s Phil Oakey, the monumental Symmetry, a track which pays direct homage to the italo-disco sounds of the late 80’s and early 90’s; exactly the kind of thing you’d expect from millennium releases by Visage or Fancy. It’s exactly the kind of sound I’d like to hear ressurected into the next 5 years or so of electronic music culture. That Italo-flavour gave us a lot of interesting pop/club cuts, and Symmetry’s presentation is a prime example as to why.
It’s not all about the HI-NRG though. There are a couple of soppy tracks (Hearts Collide, Tune Into My Heart) which, surprisingly, are near perfect. These are the kind of pop ballads music lovers should be paying attention to.
Hands‘ only real fault is its awful title. Other than that, the cover-art is gorgeous, the tracks; near perfection. Hands is exactly the kind of record you’d assume Kylie Minogue has been trying to record since 2002.
Just because her boots are little, doesn’t mean they weren’t made for walking.