Little Boots is not one of a kind, she is one of a kin, a group of chic young musicians showing it is possible to break away from the cliché of the pop wave girlgroups, and still deliver songs which light up a dance floor between your ears.
Her premier release in 2009, Hands, was met with moderate success due to the rise of kinswoman Lady Gaga, La Roux and Ellie Goulding. With her new album Nocturnes, Little Boots delves into the more recent archives of 90's synth pop dance hybrids rather than the 70's disco tinges of her first album. It creates a soundscape immediately familiar to the audience. At times it sounds like Kylie Minogue at her best, and that is served up as a compliment. It's what is needed or expected in order to meet the genre and her perfect pop vocal rides high.
Opening track 'Motorway' is a beautiful segue, a welcome mat of a track. The piano intro is reminiscent of Miike Snow, and the dropping out of the bulk of the instrumentation to highlight the lyrics about the pining of a need to escape with the one you love is blissful. Similarly 'Confusion' has the slow electro clap of a thousand 90's floor fillers. It's a Ministry Of Sound track.
The cool thing about Nocturnes is that it doesn't sound like a straight album, some of the tweaks and drops are akin to the remixes found as B-sides on CD singles, in a time when Woolworths had a purpose. It gives an edge. It's impossible to imagine Little Boots performing synchronised moves in a midst of writhing backing dancers or having elaborate costume changes or set pieces. The songs and their messages and style speak for themselves, she's a serious artist who doesn't need the bells and whistles to be the head of discussion. 'Shake' begins with the Madonna's Erotica form of sensuality through hushed, compressed issues of the title before giving out to the GarageBand preset warbling bass part which is the modern day equivalent of the 80's synth we all mock so readily now. By the time the chorus; "Everybody shake, until your heart breaks" begins, all is forgiven. It's another example of how to work the genre and an album perfectly. This is followed by 'Beat Beat' which is so close to Can't Get You Out Of My Head you can almost hear the court case.
Closer 'Satellites' is the sumptuous end required. Her husky vocals in the opening verse call you in before the chorus jumps about with the bouncing synth spots on either side like being overtaken. What Little Boots has managed to achieve is an absolute feat. In a world where there are far too many artists trying to do the same thing, she has dared to tuck into the pocket of 90's house and pulled out gold.
Nocturnes should be one of the pop albums of the year. It's refreshing in its immediate references and bold in content and delivery. It's not an album to sit on a commute with, it is a top down sunset drive album. Lets pray the sun is around for us to race towards it.