Considering that Victoria Hesketh, the woman behind the Little Boots name, is now in charge of her own record label, On Repeat Records, and has been since her last album Nocturnes was released, the direction for Working Girl makes complete sense. It’s a synth-driven ode to the working women of the world and a glimpse at the situation she finds herself in, right down to the promotional imagery featuring Hesketh clad in power suits and other office-appropriate attire. It’s a concept that she’s really given life to in the pre-release phase, and one that makes for a surprisingly strong album.
From the first second, Hesketh tries her best to both enforce the business concept while making sure her own personality is still on show; Intro sounds exactly like an automated voice message on a hotline, offering extensions to connect to at On Repeat Records as if you had called them yourself, complete with a cheaply produced elevator music-style version of her classic single Remedy to set the mood. Even if you ignore the business theme, the music stands strong on its own account. Hesketh has adopted a hybrid style of synthpop and house, often taking a cue from the deep house stylings of Shake from her previous album. It’s a natural progression from her old albums, and the genres work perfectly together to give the album a distinct sound.
It’s a style that genuinely suits her vocal and writing style: Get Things Done mixes its synthpop/house hybrid beat and prominent bass riff with Hesketh’s light vocals in a way that gives it a distinct Little Boots vibe, topped off with a confident assertion to finish the package—We know how to get things done. Real Girl features a euphoric chorus with contrasting lyrics, with Hesketh pleading to be treated like a real girl; it fits the Working Girl concept perfectly, and its beat is particularly strong; the wobbling bass line hearkens to dubstep, but the song goes no farther in that direction, and instead uses it to enhance the pop factor of the song to dizzying heights. It’s one of the true stand-out moments of the album.
One of the album’s most notable songs is also its oldest. Taste It, the first single released for her Business Pleasure EP that preceded the album last year, uses dark beats to emphasise the choice of lyrics—They’ve got your heart between their teeth / Too good to be true, it’s a dream / Wake up and smell the saccharine—in an anti-consumerist anthem for the ages. It’s a different spin on the album concept, but one that truly pinpoints the thought that went into it.
In the end, it’s the mixture of moods and messages in the songs and their place in the overall concept of the modern working woman that makes Working Girl such a strong collection, conceptually and as a general piece of music. It has the strongest personality to date out of Hesketh’s albums, and shows her truly coming into her own as an artist. In a career that’s been filled with battles with record labels and moments of self-discovery, Working Girl sees Little Boots finally coming out on top with more confidence than ever.