Little Boots – Nocturnes,
Motorway review &
Recent developments regarding the new album
I’ve been looking forward to this album for a while, as you can see HERE, but in news that will shock even her closest relatives, Victoria ‘Little Boots’ Hesketh has quite literally ‘got on with it’ and officially released some details of her four-years-in-the-making sophomore effort. Here’s what we now know:
It has a name.
As we’ve known for several weeks, the album is called ‘Nocturnes’, which according to our good friend, Google, means:
“A short composition of a romantic or dreamy character suggestive of night, typically for piano.” So far I haven’t heard much piano but basically it’s an album characteristic of the night, which presumably is best enjoyed at night. See: ‘Tonight, Franz Ferdinand’ and ‘Night Work’ by Scissor Sisters, other very good night-themed works, but not exactly worldwide smashes.
It has a release date.
‘Nocturnes’ will be released on 5th May 2013.
It has some crap artwork (see top).
Boots released a picture a little while ago, which people said was a bad choice of album cover, but now she has released the actual cover, which is actually worse. Parallels have been made between the Nocturnes cover and Ellie Goulding’s ‘Halcyon’ cover as well as numerous others, but to me it just looks like a Mastercard logo, perhaps suggesting that Boots is aiming for the Mastercard Album of the Year award at the 2014 Brit Awards and for that, we should commend her ambition.
There are 10 songs on it. (BOO!)
This tracklisting was announced to the music consumer of today via Instagram (what else!), but as a list of tracks written on a blackboard rather than iced onto cupcakes. That picture can be found below, but in case you’re not good at discerning information from crap photographs, or you can’t see chalk, that track list is:
Broken Record (4:33)
Beat Beat (4:18)**
Every Night I Say a Prayer *** (3:38)
All For You (4:21)
*As you can see, previously released single ‘Shake’ is there, but its running time has been reduced by around 40 seconds.
** ‘Beat Beat’ and ‘Shake appear’ to be the other way around to that listed on the blackboard.
**‘Every Night I Say a Prayer’ is also there. There was rumour beforehand that the track’s title had been changed to ‘Every Night’ and in the blackboard photo it is listed as ‘Prayer’. To confuse matters further, the iTunes track list gives the full original title, and that’s the one we will stick with, as it is the better one. This is a tell-tale sign of the inconsistency that has marred this whole campaign.
There is an obvious omission in the track listing
Confirming what had already been discussed in various online locations, the most upbeat ‘single’ of the three released, ‘Headphones’ , the one with a proper video and everything, has been left off the album, probably because it was too cheery. ‘Superstitious Heart’ is also missing, but I’ll let her off there. Back to ‘Headphones’, it is available to download from reputable online sources if you are made of money, but there are remixes available for free, which are very good, especially the Moon Boots remix, so that’s an option if you don’t have Adele’s bank balance, or if you have Little Boots’ bank balance.
[Side rant: This is just like what happened with Marina and the Diamonds leaving first single ‘Radioactive’ off the album but releasing it on a ‘deluxe version’. This kind of behaviour shouldn’t be encouraged. It’s just winding people up really. Just decide on a definitive track list and release that on one album. Why does everything always have to be standard / deluxe / re-released / with bonus tracks / reloaded / special edition / with extra remixes!? For one thing, it makes labelling on iTunes more complicated than it needs to be and secondly, it makes the artist look indecisive. I’m not going to buy one copy of each version; I’ll buy the cheapest anyway so nobody is fooling me into spending more than I need to.]
Little Boots has left 679 Records.
In news that will surprise nobody, Boots has changed label, leaving behind terribly-organised 679 Records, which is probably why the album plans are actually in motion now. The album is released on ‘On Repeat’, whatever the hell that is. It sounds like Little Boots is self-releasing them. Lord knows if this means she will be releasing it into shops (if record shops still exist by then) or simply selling it out the back of a VW campervan, but she is apparently signing 1000 copies so she’s ambitious sales-wise, we’ll give her that.
You can hear ‘Motorway’ now.
The opening track, ‘Motorway’, for which you can see the artwork above (which is continuing the newly-introduced theme of ‘terrible’), can be listened to now. Even better, you can download it for free from her website HERE. There is a little box where you can enter your email to sign up to (and quickly unsubscribe from) her mailing list. We don’t need to be on that, since we follow her on Instagram, right? Here it is:
Here is a brief review:
You can’t exactly dance to it, but don’t let you put that off. Whereas this would normally mean that it’s no good, the song is a perfectly pleasant listen and it sounds even better when listened to at night and in the dark. I suppose that’s why she’s called the album Nocturnes. The song starts out pretty slow but does pick up as it goes along, with a drum beat eventually coming in, but it never really kicks off. At the start it sounds like it is going to lead into Marina’s ‘Fear and Loathing’, but that obviously doesn’t happen, although a mash-up of the two would be welcome.
The song seems to be about Victoria wanting to elope with somebody via the motorway. She sings ‘Meet me on the motorway, together we can make our great escape”. Although this is more or less fine as a lyric, I can’t help but think about how inconvenient it would be to meet somebody on the motorway. Surely the thrill of eloping would be bigger if you were in the same car, or TOGETHER. With the price of petrol today, fleeing in two separate cars is going to cause you a lot of financial hassle, not to mention any potential tolls and subsequent parking. At one point you will have to ditch one of the cars, so what’s the point in taking it? Perhaps it would be quite romantic racing round the M25 and looking out of your windows at each other, but I’m a man of convenience so that doesn’t suit me at all.
The vocals are dreamy, there are lots of bleepy noises and the lyrics are not grating, although when she sings of her ‘heavy eyes on the road’ I can’t help thinking that if they were driving together, then they could take it in turns at the wheel, giving the other and opportunity to sleep and thereby avoiding any unnecessary stops at service stations, which would give the fuzz a chance to catch up with you. Music-wise, the song could do with a bit of a kick up the bum with a big middle-eight break down, like in Scissor Sister’s Night Work buzz single and career highlight ‘Invisible Light’ with lots of crashes and loud back ground chanting (Sir Ian McKellen monologue optional) but even without that it sounds pretty good anyway. Note: obviously by crashes I mean cymbals, not car crashes. However, in the tragic event of one of the cars crashing, which would clearly be terrible,, there would be half as many casualties as the two were, of course, riding separately. Silver linings… I’ve cracked the code!
I’ve mocked up a better single cover on MS Paint for everyone’s benefit, which embodies all the beauty of motorways.
Arbitrary rating: 8/10, very good but could explode a bit more towards the end.
With three good songs on it already, Nocturnes is probably worth buying already, but if you want to confirm this, or if you’re just a fan of ruining surprises, 1:30 long clips are available of all tracks on iTunes. You can also pre-order the album now in the obvious places, but you usually get it late when you do that, which is against the point really, isn’t it? Still if you fancy Little Boots scrawling an emotionless message on your CD case, go for it.
Don’t le me down, Hesketh.