You’d be forgiven for thinking, with a title like ‘Working Girl’, and track names such as ‘The Game’ and ‘Real Girl’, that Victoria Hesketh – in her third album under the Little Boots moniker – had shaped a radical concept album around the trials and tribulations endured by the nation’s woefully under-protected, world-weary purveyors of “ye olde profession“.
Hesketh is a pretty feisty girl, however – her Debbie Harry-like posturing on the cover is testament to this, as are her appearances on the likes of the Channel 4 News, or her very vocal and passionate support for worthy left-leaning causes such as the anti-poverty charity ‘War On Want’. Once you get over the initial disappointment of the lack of political commentary here though, there are a handful of gems at which to marvel.
Often, the sound is reminiscent of late nineties/early noughties Kylie – perhaps due to the presence of producer Ariel Rechtshaid, who worked with the diminutive Aussie a year or so ago – with a distinct twilight hours feel that calls to mind Dirty Vegas in the record’s more retro moments, and Disclosure at its most contemporary.
The strongest tracks here are probably the title track, radiating a kind of ‘post-nightclub, asleep-in-the-bus-shelter’ wooziness that is hard to resist, and the glorious disco thump of the perfect pop song that is ‘Get Things Done’, bizarrely not yet a single despite screaming “HIT!” at you from the moment you lay ears on it. It’s easily the most chart-friendly thing she’s recorded since her quirky top 20 debut, ‘New In Town’.
It won’t be all high fives and congratulatory hugs from me though. ‘Taste It’, for instance, becomes quite grating after a while, partly due to Hesketh’s overly saccharine vocal, which, rather than coming across as ‘breathy and sultry’, as I suspect the artist was aiming for, instead it sounds like a twelve year old girl in the back seat of your car singing the same part of a song over and over again while you’re trying to drive. This one’s best skipped, if you ask me, and the incidental pieces – two skits on those ‘recorded messages’ that you encounter when you’ve telephoned a bank or utilities company and get placed in a queue – are mildly amusing the first time around but a litte irritating thereafter.
For the most part though, ‘Working Girl’, despite ending with something of a whimper, is an entertaining, if mostly chilled out affair that effectively displays both Hesketh’s versatility as an artist and a humorous side that is as surprising as it is charming.