Friday, July 31, 2009

Little Boots - Hands

Review number 2. Let's do this.

Little Boots – Hands

So we have another new British female who's début album is named after a human body part (see below). I can't help but feel we're running out of ideas.

That's actually a theme that rears it's ugly head listening to 'Hands', now that I think about it. On the surface it appears to be the work of a young, excited newcomer, full of fresh blood and fresher sounds. But when you strip it down, there's every chance this actually represents something rather upsetting.

The shocking and yet completely justified success of Lady Gaga has obviously prompted record labels in the U.K to go on the hunt for a British equivalent, a lesson in failure that you'd think would have been learned by now. Polydor for example, in the time it took 'The Fame' to sell one million copies (read: not very long) have signed not one, but two feisty young electro-pop starlets in a rush to cash in on Gagas market. One of which, is Little Boots.

Now don't get me wrong. This type of music has been around for years, as has Little Boots. The lass has been peddling her unique, often misunderstood sound across England for the better part of ten years now and she can't be blamed for it's sudden surge in popularity. In fact, she could almost be forgiven for resenting it. Thankfully, she doesn't. And while the Gaga comparisons will no doubt come in waves, they don't really hold a lot of water when you actually listen to what Boots has to say. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, is difficult to discern.

The album kicks off beautifully. 'New in Town', is a magnificent opening track. It builds on the foundation of a steady, solid electro beat and bursts to life in a chorus you're never likely to forget. From the outset one thing is clear; if Gaga is about 'cool', Little Boots is about 'fun'. While the arrangements and production are undeniably similar, Boots takes the whole thing less seriously and comes across equal parts charming and endearing as a result. 'Every Little Earthquake' is another example of Boots using her innate charm to bring a smile to your face with her witty lyrics while making you tap your foot with her filthy, distorted synthesizers and loops. 'Remedy' is an instant pop-classic and will no doubt fill many a dance floor this summer. 'Symmetry' sounds as if it was lifted straight from a Human League greatest hits CD (partially thanks to Philip Oakeys guest appearance, it has to be said), and 'Tune Into My Heart' provides a welcome detour into sweetness that Little Boots' little voice suits perfectly.

It's not all fun and games however. 'Click', 'Ghost', 'Hearts Collide' and 'Stuck On Repeat' are bland, soulless pop songs that don't really go anywhere and are unfortunately indicative of the possibility that this album was in-fact rushed out to catch the last call of the Gaga bandwagon. 'Mathematics' presents an interesting lyrical idea which turns out to be far cheesier than I'm sure she initially expected, and while 'Meddle' sounds distinctly British, almost reminiscent of the U.K garage scene, it doesn't really do anything else. These tracks, when compared to the ones from the previous paragraph, create a rather disconcerting contrast between what Boots can do, and what perhaps she had to do. This is all baseless conjecture of course, but I can't help but feel like this album was a bit of a rush-job. And even if it wasn't, it's still disappointing to hear these tracks trudge clumsily through my headphones when the girl is clearly capable of better.

'Hands' is not going to set the world on fire. It probably won't even set the U.K on fire. But if you like your pop music you could certainly do a lot worse (La Roux for example). While 'Hands' as an album is average at best, it should be more than enough to put a smile on your face.

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