It's a heavy weight for one petite 24-year-old to carry on her shoulders, but Victoria Hesketh, aka Little Boots, is wearing the mantle of 'The Next Big Thing' like it's a flimsy waterproof mac. Since her single 'Stuck on Repeat' was released last year, the Blackpool Bombshell (incidentally, she's blonde, too) has had critics and tastemakers making all the right noises in her direction - a murmur of approval that turned into an ear-splitting roar when she was voted top of the BBC's 'Sound of 2009' poll - a contest that pits all the Next Big Things of the year against each other - in January.
Hype tsunamis are usually followed by slow-filtering aftershocks of disappointment, but 'Hands' is a surprisingly accomplished debut album from Hesketh. With pop/electronica connoisseurs Greg Kurstin (The Bird and The Bee) and Joe Goddard (Hot Chip) overseeing production, their stamp of quality and more importantly, experience is evident - especially on the less-immediate but just as effective tracks 'Ghosts' (a broken-hearted Mary Poppins goes electropop) and the looser glitter-and-sparkle of 'Tune Into My Heart'.
Without a doubt, though, it's the big, ballsy, glam pop tunes that do the briskest business. 'Stuck on Repeat' and the Kylie-esque 'Remedy' add punch and crunch to the dominant, undulating synth and tenori-on blanket, 'Meddle''s off-kilter beat is icily sophisticated, but it's new single 'New in Town' that takes the Top Choon award. Let its tuneful, sassy bop into your head, and it'll take longer than an iron-willed squatter with reinforced handcuffs to remove. Album of the year? No. Album of the summer? Most definitely.