It’s becoming clear that Little Boots‘ Nocturnes may be the quiet surprise of the year.
Victoria Hesketh already brought us a few slices of splendorous dance-pop once before with Hands, her imperfectly perfect dance-pop debut in 2009 (she concedes in her Nocturnes video preview that the first album felt “overproduced.”) Now, with the help of Tim Goldsworthy, Simian Mobile Disco‘s James Ford and Hercules and Love Affair‘s Andy Butler (and the pressure of the BBC Sound of 2009 list off her back), Boots is back with a new record in May.
Not too long ago, Hesketh premiered “Motorway,” a staggeringly gorgeous sweep of synth-pop that deserved far more than a brief blogosphere rumble: It’s stunning–sort of like a cross between Saint Etienne and Kylie Minogue, with eerie, heartbreaking strings and tranced out, midnight black synthesizers propelling us along the way. “Meet me on the motorway, together we can make our great escape,” Hesketh urges. Then again, is there any better pop that promises to run far, far away? (It’s also free on her website, so really, you’ve no excuse not to have it on your iPod.)
“Broken Record” is the next sampling of Nocturnes. And true to the song’s title, the song delivers repeat-heavy rhythms: “I hear your voice like a broken record/In my heart, I feel it echo,” she sing-songs off the bouncy chorus. Like “Motorway,” it’s a darker, more dramatic affair (the album’s already sounding more cohesive than her debut), packed tight with sticky hooks and st-st-stuttering melodies like a Xenomania production.
Around the 2:30 mark, the beats blare a bit harder as Boots allows her voice to go through the “Piece of Me” robo-ringer. It’s not a massive detour, but proof nonetheless that Boots is giving herself some creative leeway this time around. (And hey, “Stuck On Repeat” reference in the first verse!)
Go ahead. Push play. You’ll have it stuck on repea-pea-pea-pea-peat.
“Broken Record” was released on March 18. (iTunes)