Video: ‘New in Town’
For the last few years, the BBC website has run the ‘Sound of…’ poll, in which a bunch of music industry bods are asked to vote on who they think will be the new acts to watch in the coming year. Topping the Sound of 2009 poll was an electro-pop artist from Blackpool named Victoria Hesketh, aka Little Boots, who got a record deal after leaving her old band and posting videos on YouTube of her playing songs at home.
It’s not hard to see why Hesketh came first in the poll. Hands begins with the single ‘New in Town’ which is, to be frank, an absolute corker of a song. A stuttering opening gives way to an intrguingly odd melody, which then explodes into a mighty chorus that promptly takes up residence in the mind and refuses to leave (I’m still humming it now). One of the best songs of the year so far, no doubt.
And that’s not the only great song on here. There’s the weird clattering of ‘Meddle’, the skewed disco of ‘Remedy, the drum-led march of ‘Ghost’… There’s also something notable about Hesketh’s lyrics: not so much particular turns of phrase, but she pulls off the neat trick of building entire songs around single metaphors (all the mathematical language on the aptly-titled ‘Mathematics’, for example, or the driving-themed ‘No Brakes’) without it seeming strained. This doesn’t quite work on ‘Click’, which tries to pack too much in; but I’d say that’s the only sub-par song on the album.
More than this, Hesketh is a good singer (although the spoken interlude on one track was a bad idea), and she’s amde an electronic album of heart with its own distnctive feel. If good pop music can be defined as music that stays in your head and is welcome there (well, that’s how I’m going to define it here); then Hands is an album of good pop music, and Little Boots deserves to be a star.
Video: ‘Meddle’ (live)