Little Boots - Nocturnes

A classy album that brims with euphoria.

Label: On Repeat / Kobalt

Rating: 9

Back in 2009 Victoria Hesketh was pop’s great new hope. After having beaten Florence and Lady Gaga to become the BBC Sound Of 2009, Little Boots was expected to flourish. Instead, the debut album that emerged that summer, ‘Hands’, sounded slightly unsure of itself. Very much rooted in the shiny, synthetic sounds of 80s pop it was an album that you feel didn’t really represent Hesketh as an artist and a musician. Four years later and free from any expectation, she has now delivered a far more definitive statement. ‘Nocturnes’ is the sound of Little Boots re-born.

‘Nocturnes’ is informed and influenced by dance music in its purest form. It throbs and soars, bounces and sways. It mirrors the overpowering delirium of dance floor abandon. The album seems to be about giving yourself over to sound and desire. A true example of Grace Jones’ ‘Slave To The Rhythm.’

The collaborators Hesketh has employed indicate her desire to make a deeper and more electronically diverse album. DFA co-founder Tim Goldsworthy is at the helm as producer, and there are contributions here from Simian Mobile Disco’s James Ford and Hercules & Love Affair’s Andy Butler. It sounds fantastic throughout; there’s just the right mix of intense dance floor dynamics and reverential sounds. House’s robotic machine like grooves, piano vamps and hyper intense beats are a constant touchstone.

The album is characterised by an idea of escapism, which manifests itself perfectly on the Saint Etienne-like sweep of ‘Motorway’, Hesketh’s pure and keening vocal sounding lovely as she sings, ‘together we can make our great escape,” employing the eternal car as vehicle of desire metaphor. There is a bittersweet melancholy, though, which pops up every so often adding an important layer of emotion.

Tracks like ‘Shake’ and ‘Broken Record’ build themselves up wonderfully and organically into stimulating and hypnotic grooves. The cyborg pop of the latter is particularly arresting. Elsewhere, the newfound confidence and assurance in the true Little Boots sound brings out Hesketh’s best melodies and hooks yet. ‘Crescendo’ is redolent of Robyn. Lady Gaga would welcome any of these melodies on her next album.

The peerless soaring disco pop of ‘Beat Beat’ perhaps best exemplifies a classy album that brims with euphoria. This is the record that Hesketh always wanted to make. As she sings on the killer chorus, “I’m gonna keep on dancing to the beat of your heart,” you can’t help but be carried along in its infectious and elevating ecstasy.