Friday, 21 August 2015

Julio Bashmore "Knockin' Boots"

Matt Walker aka producer extraordinaire Julio Bashmore is in good company on his debut album. In the style of fellow Brits Disclosure, he’s featured a palatable mix of rising vocal talents on his album, from South-African rapper Okmalumkoolkat to smooth soul artist Seven Davis Jr. But ultimately Bashmore has created a real feel-good record with throwbacks to early house and funky basslines to keep us dancing. It’s not enough that Adidas croptops and mini buns have now made their way into clubs, we also want the music to match our 90s UK rave obsession and Knockin’ Boots makes it a little more sonically real.

Knockin’ Boots really should have been called Knockin’ Beats. Bashmore is not joking around on this non-stop navigation through nostalgic soul harmonies, hi-hats for days and so, so many handclaps. There’s no denying this is dance music. Sure, you won’t find the distortion or up-down dynamics of what we’re used to in mainstream EDM but instead here the tracks glide into each other with a subtle coolness.

On opener and title track ‘Knockin’ Boots’ Bashmore kicks off the groove with a 1980 Jones Girls sample from “Dance Turn Into Romance” [“we danced and we danced.”] In some ways it’s easier to describe what the record doesn’t rather than does sounds like: it isn’t abrasive and it isn’t shocking. But a familiar untz-untz draws you in for a timeless listen even though most Julio Bashmore fans weren’t around the Chicago clubs where those sounds first emerged. And this record is a more digestible version of what Jamie XX or John Talabot have done to a vintage reintreptation of dance (in assuming there’s a crossover in the fans.)

From the loving and soulful (‘For Your Love’), to a disco dance single (‘Holding On’) and then more playful and experimental (‘Bark’), Knockin’ Boots is a record for music lovers. It can be a tough market these days – too variable and the record seems abrupt, too seamless and we get bored. Bashmore has moved away from his grittier, hip-hop infused Bristol background towards a shinier, smilier expression of electronic. And after a few years of remixes and online tracks, a debut album from him couldn’t make us smile more.

Published on AdamNOTEve.