Much as I despise the phrase, Little Boots’ debut album ‘Hands’ was the definition of a guilty pleasure. By matching shamelessly poppy choruses to punchy production from an array of hip almost-indie collaborators and fronting it with Victoria Hesketh’s cute as a button Goldfrapp impression it won fans both sides of the alternative music barricades and presaged the wider eighties revival of the last couple of years.
She’s waited four years to deliver a follow-up but ‘Motorway’ is our first taster of Hesketh’s elusive second record ‘Nocturnes’. In interviews she’s hinted at a darker, spookier experience and ‘Motorway’ opens with menacing synth washes and a bassy ambience that demonstrates the dance music influence at work here. The enormous piano chords come straight from the early nineties and the aftermath of Madchester but Hesketh’s cooing vocals sounds like one of Florence’s Calvin Harris collaborations. The percussive taps of the verse give way to huge head rush of a chorus, but the lyrics are disappointingly generic.
It’s a brave move and one which will undoubtedly serve as fuel for remixers but somehow it just lacks the quirky charm of her early releases.