Review of Little Boots Album Hands released through 679/Atlantic.
Unless you've been on a desert island somewhere since 2008, you'll already know about Little Boots. She's had the misfortune of being the subject of premature media frenzy long before her debut was released. Winning the BBC Sound of 2009 poll and only being pipped to the post by Florence And The Machine in the Critics Choice category for this years BRITS, the pressure was on for her to deliver. So Victoria Hesketh as she's known to her nearest and dearest jetted off to LA and enlisted the help of Greg Kurstin (Lily Allen, Peaches) to record her debut.
And deliver she does. Hands has instant impact, its glittering synth pop and the songs are carefully crafted with huge infectious choruses - perfectly suited to commercial radio. It kicks off with recent single New In Town, probably the most 'pop' song on the album. Earthquake and Stuck On Repeat too are almost perfect pop songs but with an added depth, and the continuous loop synths and catchy chorus of Remedy follows suit. Any one of these would not look out of place in the top end of the charts. Meddle stands out as a darker more fractured number but keeps to the huge chorus formula and Hesketh's vocals suit it surprisingly well. The hidden track, Broken is perhaps a glimpse into the life of Hesketh rather than her alter ego. It is an acoustic number that sees Little Boots stripped back to basics, just her and a piano, singing with passion and honesty; it really reveals her raw vocal talent.
There are some faults; Hesketh's vocals are somewhat uniform and the subject of every song relates to matters of the heart and relationships, which can make it a bit clichÃ©d. Hesketh is joined by Phil Oakey of the Human League on Symmetry and although it is another heartfelt pop song; he does overshadow her vocals slightly, which is a shame. However, for a debut released under such intense scrutiny, this is a triumph. Yes, Hands is a beautifully crafted, shiny piece of pop, but its added depth means it will appeal to more than just the pop market.