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4.1 out of 5 stars
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 6 May 2013
2009's Hands was an album that had met up against a critical backlash before it had even charted in the top 10 of the UK album charts. As the story went, Victoria Hesketh had made an all out assault on the charts, somewhat turning against the long list of inspirations she had trotted out in interviews.

Perhaps chastened (though I'd suspect not) by the relative failure to conquer the charts (which saw genuine top 5 chart smash Remedy followed up by Earthquake peaking at number 84 in the UK) it seemed as if album number two would be a long time coming, as she seemingly spent most of her time touring the world as a DJ. Indeed it was somewhat of a surprise when Shake, track 4 here, surfaced with little prior warning in late 2011. It was less of a surprise when it turned out to be the kind of disco stomper that Kylie would give her right arm for.

The cliché of record label interference on the "over-produced" debut album may well be a well-worn path but there is also little doubt that taking control over her sound and concentrating on a simplified sonic production (simple in the fact of working with less people, not in terms of the sound itself) has paid off.

Whereas Hands at times seemed like a collection of great singles without a common thread, Nocturnes not only features some cracking singles but actually, shock horror, works as a cohesive album as well. The lady herself has described the album's sound as one of the "night" and it's certainly an album with at least one eye on the dancefloor.

Shake is joined by Satellite and Broken Record on the "head to the dancefloor" side of things whilst the likes of Crescendo and Strangers add a little bit of a a more melancholy air to proceedings and show that as well as the "beats", Little Boots can bring the emotion as well.

Those whose idea of Little Boots is based on Remedy may well struggle to find anything that meets their impressions on Nocturnes. Indeed, it seems like chasing a mega chart hit is a thing of the past for Hesketh and I'm no more going to turn against her for that than I would have agreed with those who suggested her debut was somehow being un-true to her roots simply because some of the songs on there did seem to be aimed squarely at the charts.

If Hands focused on getting the party started and the dance-floor filled at the start of the evening Nocturnes takes us later on into the night, keeping us going with some genuine disco-stompers, taking things down a little slow to let us get our energy back and then sending us out (with album closer Satellite) into the morning sunshine sure that we've had one hell of a night.

After the superb Hands, Little Boots took her time to get back to us, but she's done it again with another rather brilliant album.
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on 22 August 2013
Little Boots - who divided opinion with her début album - claims Nocturnes got its name as it is "an album indebted to the night". Now a DJ as well as a songwriter and eclectic electropop performer, it's clear that her time spent away from the studio and into the club scene made a big impression on this next foray into the charts.

Both a departure and extension of her previous effort, which was heavily influenced by synthpop, Nocturnes puts one foot to the side and one foot in the past as 80's and 90's dance, eurohouse and trance collide, all filtered through modern disco and pop overtones, birthing a fantastic retro celebration with both nostalgia and futurism in mind. For example, the structure of "Shake" seems to derive from Green Velvet and Walter Phillip's "Shake and Pop", itself a reference to dance crazes of the past.

Unlike Hands, Nocturnes has - quite fittingly - darker themes and tones, characterised by moody expressions of atmospheric ambience and effects, giving an ethereal but laidback feel. Keeping with the concept, many of the songs have hopeful lyrics, brightly burning like neon-drenched rays of light illuminating the otherworldly spirit of the night evoked by the music. Even if you didn't like her first album, you should try this out; it's at once both different and the same and is sometimes as magical as the nights from which it owes so much to.
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on 13 October 2014
As Phil Oakey of the Human League recommended to us, Little Boots is something new but with sound roots deeply in the synth genre & with her beautifull classic voice she is obviously going to do well!
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on 5 September 2013
I 'discovered' this album long haul from Buenos Aries - over half a day in the air and in need of something to engage the brain while I failed to sleep in cattle class. That was five days ago and I'm still waking up somewhere on a darkened Motorway heading north. While the basic ideas are elegantly light and poppy, there is plenty of nuance and variation in all of these tracks. It kept my aging ears happy picking out the details while I listened to it five times through the night somewhere over the mid-Atlantic. It's a joy to hear it now without the twin drone of jet engines vibrating through ear phones. I did try Hands briefly having heard this album but have to say that for me Nocturnes wins hands down. It is a superb collection of tracks with only one or two weaker ones where the whole set hangs together beautifully (and only the second full album I've elected to buy in ten years).
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on 15 May 2013
I'm a huge fan of Little Boots and have waited ages for this new album. I wasn't disappointed as this contains 10 original tracks - none of which are "you've heard it before" tracks either. The music is less commercial than the first album and I wouldn't expect to see individual singles climbing high, but the album as a whole is great listening and a super "chill out" album. Boots is great performing live and I look forward to seeing these tracks performed too.
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on 29 September 2013
I heard this music on a BA flight to Totonto and thought it was awesome, I took note of the title so that on my return to the UK could buy it, I did I downloaded it not long after I landed. Its great music of the type I like .
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on 10 May 2013
The synth-pop of her debut was always hard to surpass and since then there were numerous sessions, DJ-jaunts and the occasional 12". So this is essentially is a collection of the years working, editing, moulding and passing it through many hands. And the inevitable consequence of that is a rather uneven release. The song 'Shake' is one of the oldest tracks on it, with a hard-house edge to it co-produced by James Ford. It doesn't really fit with the rest. The song 'Broken Record' dismisses the whole idea of redoing the debut, referencing the song 'Remedy'. The opener 'Motorway' flows well and was rightly chosen to spearhead the campaign for this record. 'Confusion' has a more urban feel to it and is asking for a heavy dub/mix. The more recent material clearly has the DFA/Tim Goldsworthy hands over it, and songs like 'Beat Beat' has that familiar arrangement. 'Strangers' is sweet and mellow while 'All For You' pounces nicely. The final song 'Satellite' is big on simulated bigness but fails to live up to it. In many ways, this material would have been suited on a set of EPs releases over the past number over years then this collection which in some ways comes across as unhinged. Pleasant.
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on 23 July 2013
I like this in the same way as Daft Punk and Pet Shop Boys recent releases file under bright and smart summer pop
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on 6 May 2013
As a big fan of Little Boots, my opinion of this album was always going to be a little one sided. I absoloutly loved Victoria's first album Hands. It had such a good vibe about it! It's no wonder she won the BBC sound of the year 2009.

But that was then and it has taken her a long while to bring us this new album. But boy was it worth the wait. The culmination of going back to her roots mixed with her experiences of playing DJ sets around the world has brought us this phenomenal album. It's one of those albums that makes you imagine having a party on some faraway beach with all your friends gathered around as the evening draws in.

I cannot recommend this album enough!
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on 22 July 2014
By moving away from her electro/8os inspired roots and into more dance orientated production her songs really lose the edge. The quality of her ideas is there but ruined by formulaic boring dance production - she needs to get back to he sound and style that made her such a bright star for he future or well lose the opportunity to hear more. Back to working it all out on the trusty synths etc at home then produce it yourself - you'll do a much better job! WE saw her live (with Ellie goulding as support) and she was tremendous - on this release we would never have even considered buying tickets
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