Sunday, June 07, 2009

Hands - Little Boots

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Perhaps it shouldn't surprise me that the Little Boots "backlash" has kicked off before her debut album has even reached the shops. In fact, let's be honest, it kicked off before her debut single had even reached the shops...and then blew up when New In Town failed to reach the top 10. The problems seems to be as thus; the BBC voted her as the Sound of 2009, she's quite a pretty girl and the height of her ambition seems to be to make catchy pop songs in a world where "pop" is still a dirty word.

Well no one seemed to pour as much vitriol into slamming 2008's "Sound" winner (the dull and derivative Adele) nor 2007's winner (Mika), nor 2006's (Corrine Bailey Rae) and if anyone can tell me that any of that trio are particularly inventive or ground breaking you will be lying through your teeth. And that's before we even get to 2005 winners The Bravery (presumably currently looking for other employment).

Of course half the journalists slamming her purely for winning that poll forget that it's partly voted for by their brethren, nor do they slate Florence And The Machine (who have two single releases under their belt that never threatened the top 40) who won that Brit award, which really is shameless publicity to the 'n'th degree. But silly me, Florence is a "serious" musician isn't she?

Well with that diatribe out of the way, what is Hands actually like? Well as far as I'm concerned it's really rather good. Obviously some tracks that have been knocking around for months (Stuck On Repeat, Meddle, Mathematics) set the bar pretty high but they are far from the only highlights. Having Phil Oakey duet on the shimmeringly wonderful Symmetry might seem like a gimmick but it not only works, but exceeds all expectations, Tune Into My Heart, with it's icy, mellow sound proves that she's far from a one trick pony whilst upcoming single Remedy is the sort of song that Kylie would kill her producers for.

And therein lies the crux. The pompous music snobs out there will spend the next few months telling us everything that Little Boots isn't (and crucifying her for it) rather than focusing on what Little Boots IS.

The solo credits for a couple of the tracks (Click, Ghosts) show that the choice of producers on the other tracks are just that, a choice and haven't necessarily been forced upon her. At least half the tracks on here are superb and the other half aren't half bad either. Jam packed with catchy and memorable choruses it will do little to convince those that think "pop" is a dirty word and those who kid themselves that "promotion" and "hype" are 21st century inventions in the music industry. Yet despite the hype, the pressure and the (perhaps) inevitable backlash, Victoria Hesketh has proved that all of those of us who kept the faith when all around seemed to be laying into her were right all along. She's definitely a talent. Hands may not be a perfect record, but is a very damn good one nevertheless.

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