Album Review: Little Boots’ Nocturnes

Little Boots

Nocturnes

On Repeat Records

Release Date: May 6, 2013

 

Performing, recording and writing under the moniker, Little Boots, the UK based vocalist Victoria Hesketh’s debut effort Hands (released back in 2009) was a Gold-selling album. Hesketh’s much-anticipated sophomore effort, Nocturnes released last May through her own label, On Repeat Records was produced by the now maligned DFA Records co-founder and second in command, Tim Goldsworthy, and features collaborations from Simian Mobile Disco’s James Ford and Hercules and Love Affair’s Andy Butler. Overall, the material on the album is slickly produced with a polished sheen that manages to retain a beating heart beneath the chilly, minimalist synths much like the influences the material owes a great debt to – 70s disco, 90s house music and futuristic electronica. “Motorway,” the album’s first single manages to tell a lengthy noir-ish tale of lovers escaping together on a foggy, rainy night over chilly, minimalist beats. “Beat Beat” bears a resemblance to Escort in the sense that it owes a great debt to 70s disco but with modern flourishes. “Every Night,” will likely remind you of the house music you’d catch on Z100 and Hot 97 in 1989, 1990 and 1991 – C&C Music Factory, perhaps? “Satellite” my favorite track on the album, reminds me quite a bit of the Soft Lenses in the fact that underneath the densely layered iciness is a track that pulsates with a subtle yet raw carnality. For the most part Hesketh’s lyrics deal with typical pop/dance music tropes – heart wrenching desire, the ecstatic joy of hearing a great song at a club that makes you want to dance with some sweaty stranger that you might want to fuck later, the endlessly possibility of nightlife and more – sung with a haunting, tempting, come-hither sort of coo. However, “Crescendo” and “Strangers” are the two songs on the album that feel a bit misplaced – although they both express similar sentiments they skew way too much along the lines of the contemporary pop that feels faceless and kind of soulless. What’s the difference between those songs and anything that Katy Perry has done recently? To my ears, there isn’t a whole lot of difference.

   Yeah, it’s not the most original thing in the world but it doesn’t need to be, if you aren’t moved to dance to material that’s infectiously catchy – for most of the album, excluding the few duds – you must have a jaded and empty soul or you’re the sort who’s too self-conscious to dance.