Last Saturday saw something that almost never happens; the end of a week where there was an influx of almost 60 new titles in the Record Cell. Since I’ve been stretching out the twentysomething new titles like a parsimonious, uh Monk or something, throughout the year so far, I’m quite frankly flabbergasted at the torrent of new albums under the roof. When faced with the challenge of listening to all of that music, I quickly hit upon a literal challenge to myself; to listen to and report back my findings on an album a day for 30 days. Let’s begin!
#30 • Little Boots: Nocturnes UK CD 
- Broken Record
- Beat Beat
- Every Night I Say A Prayer
- All For You
The name “Little Boots” had surfaced in recent years usually connected with The Human League or Heaven 17 for some reason. I got the impression that this was a “hot new young act” who was extending the olive branch of relevancy to the crusty old men who inspired them. But years came and went without hearing the act. Quite frankly, the name gave off an odd vibe that repelled me. Still, when I saw it there in front of me for the right price, I felt it was time for a sampling. Who knows. It might be good!
I popped it in and had to strongly dissuade myself that I was not in fact, listening to St. Etienne. “Motorway” is in every sense of the word a St. Etienne song. The title, lyrics, music bed, and especially the vocals of Victoria Hesketh simply reek of a St. Etienne influence. Still, I already have St. Etienne on my racks. They were one of the handful of UK acts during the 90s that made an impression on me. Did the world really need another clone act?
By the middle of “side one” I was missing the St. Etienne shtick. “Broken Record” was a fair idea poorly executed as a pop song. The bus had come off of the Stanley/Wiggs rails and the music on offer was somewhat like St. Etienne, but with the “disco” turned up to 8. What I heard managed the unusual trick of being slight and overbearing at the same time. “Shake” seemed to go on quite a bit longer than its 5:31 playing time. Five tracks in, my attention began to wander. This was reminding me of when I heard the first Madonna album after buying a promo for fifty cents as soon as it came out just because it was on Sire Records. In other words, a fair to middling disco album. Nothing to see here. Move along.
“Strangers” managed to be a relative bright spot about two thirds the way through. The conceit of the song was novel and intriguing [split up couple goes to the disco and dances as if they were strangers] with some well observed lines, but there were clumsy lapses that could have been tightened up and as is the case of much of this music, it managed to wear out its welcome about 90 seconds before the next track happened.
Finally, “Satellite” managed to get the pulse racing with its whooshing synths and heightened sense of dynamics, but it was another case of “too little, too late” next to the somewhat leaden tracks that preceded it. At the end of the day, there were three cuts I thought rose above the miasma, and two of these were compromised. It looks like my previous policy of ignoring Little Boots [again, what a stupid name] was a form of wisdom after all.
– 30 –