Album: Little Boots, Hands (Sixsevenine/Atlantic)

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The Independent Culture

Well, this is... average enough, I suppose. But then it would be. The Brits and the BBC's anointing of new, critically approved, stars-in-waiting every year is helping crush whatever small, individual pockets of invention remain in our over-corporatised pop world.

Though intended to arouse interest in new acts, ultimately it can serve only to narrow interest: why bother searching out your own new acts, when it's already been decided that Little Boots and Florence & the Machine are the ones to watch? It's a process which parallels the destruction of record retailers in favour of supermarkets. And certainly, Hands will fit in fine among the soap powders and soups, its safe, conformist electropop grooves following lines as straight and satisfying as supermarket aisles. Even the titles betray the lack of waywardness: "Mathematics"; "Symmetry"; "Click"; "Stuck on Repeat", "Tune into My Heart" – it's a parade of the kind of machine-music clichés that seemed worn out almost three decades ago, with Ms Boots in the guise of one or another form of automata. But the result is a form of attention-deficit pop: for while "New in Town" and "Earthquake" have an instant appeal, it's striking how quickly one's palate is sated by their pop-rock fizz: the listener who can play Hands all the way through is either dedicated, or dead.

Download this: 'New in Town', 'Earthquake'