Former 'next big thing' breaks free...
'Working Girl'

Though she's never enjoyed the same commercial success as Jessie J or Sam Smith, by refusing to play the industry game, Victoria Hesketh, AKA Little Boots, has not let her BBC Sound Of 2009 poll win define her.

'Working Girl' is her third record, but her first without major label backing and, appropriately, the title alludes to both her greater involvement in this record's creation, as well as the struggles that artists face as cash cows for their record companies.

Refreshingly, this means that Little Boots is largely free to do what she wants, and it looks like what she wants is to become Sarah Cracknell from Saint Etienne. This is clearly no bad thing, and Hesketh sashays across these fourteen tracks with both an icy insouciance and a knowing wink. The songs themselves are relatively sparse – while they do stick to a dance or disco template, they're fairly minimalist and, as such, sound noticeably out of step with much of today's music.

Maybe we're just conditioned to a wall of rave horns nowadays but, at first, 'Working Girl' sounds a little thin. However, given more listens, it reveals itself to be a multi-faceted and clever album, packed with tight hooks and deft production. What first sounded a little empty now sounds expertly efficient, meaning that the song always takes centre stage.

It can be a little too sterile in places but for the most part, 'Working Girl' shows that Little Boots is a canny operator who, now that she's been given the opportunity to do things on her own terms, has finally shown us what all the fuss was about in the first place.

7/10

Words: Joe Rivers

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