30 Days: 30 Albums | Little Boots – Nocturnes

30-days-30-albums-headerLast 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!

little boots - nocturnes

On Repeat Records | UK | CD | 2013 | LBOR001CD

#30 • Little Boots: Nocturnes UK CD [2013]

  1. Motorway
  2. Confusion
  3. Broken Record
  4. Shake
  5. Beat Beat
  6. Every Night I Say A Prayer
  7. Crescendo
  8. Strangers
  9. All For You
  10. Satellite

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.

CONCLUSION: recycle.

– 30 –

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8 Responses to 30 Days: 30 Albums | Little Boots – Nocturnes

  1. ISTR that she recorded a session with Gary Numan for a series that also saw Le Roux pair up with her idols, Heaven 17. The GN/LB session was worth watching the once, but not worth keeping by any means.

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  2. Echorich says:

    I have both the GN/LB and H17/LaRoux sessions from the BBC. While I like LaRoux and feel like she could stay fairly relevant, Little Boots isn’t much more than manufactured pop music using some 80’s synth influence to sound a bit different. But I’m with you Monk it doesn’t really work.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Echorich – Manufactured is right! Co-writers I’ve never heard of that vary (along with production teams) from track to track! I have to say, this is the first time I’ve ever found Pascal Gabriel’s touch wanting. Plus… again there’s that moronic name!

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  3. Taffy says:

    Ooh – punch me in the gut! What can I say, I really like Little Boots (her name is dopey, but doesn’t irk me as much as you!). Her debut album (Hands) rested comfortably with OMD, Delphic, Hurts, Goldfrapp, Robyn, etc as one of my top ten of 2010. Nocturnes doesn’t measure up, but I still enjoyed it. What can I say – I like girly synthpop, and St Etienne sound-alikes! I also strongly disagree with the manufactured tag…she’s a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and songwriter, not a producer’s studio creation. I totally respect the Monk’s opinion; but just wanted to offer my own,

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Taffy – I sat out the last Goldfrapp album. The unholy whiff of ONJ was more than toxic for me. I’m looking forward to getting back on the Goldfrapp bus with the new album. I still haven’t heard Robyn, in spite of Andy McCluskey’s raves. One of these days… As for Victoria, she makes her albums like most 21st century product. With a team of co-writers and rotating producers, depending on the track. I’m old school. That approach doesn’t endear itself to me. I want a stronger artistic vision that hasn’t been second-guessed to death. When I see so many cooks on an album, that’s what I start to think. That’s my two cents on the current state of the business, and by that, of course, I mean The Industry.

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  4. jdrukman says:

    Monk: I totally agree with you about Nocturnes, it was a pretty weak effort – but you really should check out Boots’ first album (Hands) and the accompanying EP (Illuminations). Some *great* stuff there, including a fantastic duet with Mr. Phil Oakey himself (“Symmetry”). As for her name, apparently she’s just a really short/small girl, so little feet, little boots…

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      jdrukman – Thanks for the kind words regarding the 1st Little Boots album. Maybe I’ll agree with you and Taffy on that one! I’ll keep an eye out for it and see how it works for me.

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