Bristol house royalty Julio Bashmore has been putting out material and remixes for a few years now, but 'Knockin' Boots' is his debut album proper. It follows the template of club-friendly floorfillers that you'd probably expect, though controversially leaves out one of his best-loved songs, 'Au Seve'.
'Knockin' Boots' opens with the title track, which is classic Bashmore. Over a vocal loop from 1970s Detroit outfit The Jones Girls, of Nights Over Egypt fame, Bashmore uses his signature rhythms and repetition to layer the track bit-by-bit to create something much greater than the sum of its parts. Better yet is the following song, recent single 'Holding On'. Using a riff so breezy and light it's the perfect summer tonic, Bashmore concocts a tune that recalls Basement Jaxx at their peak. It's the best track this year called 'Holding On', no question (sorry, Disclosure, but it's true).
It's from there that things start to go wrong, unfortunately. Building your soundscape through repetition works when each track is taken in isolation, but over the course of an album it can get a bit, well... repetitive. The plethora of guest vocalists (J'Danna, BIXBY, Okmalumkoolkat, Heavy D. & the Boyz) means things stay relatively fresh, but more often than not, it's not enough. The nadir comes with 'Bark', which is arranged so that vocal snippets sound like a dog's bark, and surely has a future being played outside shopping centres to deter loitering.
Some artists simply aren't suited to the album format, and it looks as though Bashmore is one of them. He'll surely produce some great work in the future but if 'Knockin' Boots' shows us one thing, it's that there's a clear difference between an album and a collection of a dozen songs.
Words: Joe Rivers
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