“We danced and danced… till we fell in love,” starts a throwback disco-soul vocal on Julio Bashmore‘s Knockin’ Boots. If there’s someone who deserves the title ‘super-producer’, it has to be a man that has been part of the PMR stable for as long as we can remember, influencing the likes of Jessie Ware and beyond.
That title is certainly no accident, as it happens, given how much of this album is indebted to the 70s disco scene. And, to keep in line with the theme, it’s a relief to see that Bashmore hasn’t spunked all his good stuff on other people. Instead, this debut LP is full of euphoric dance cuts that feel like they could have been both soundtracking an entire decade of blaxploitation or your last night out. Take Holding On, for example, a shining ’70s technicolour thumper that blooms and builds with beats to run alongside Sam Dew‘s effortless vocal, before morphing into a dancefloor smash. It ends up being one of the standout tracks of the year for the genre.
Then again, that’s always been the joy with Bashmore. He knows his audience, and knows exactly how to build something around the strengths of his vocalists without ever sacrificing his own talents (which shine all on their own on tracks like She Ain’t, cannily using a line from Britney’s Work Bitch). So he beeps along with BIXBY on Let Me Be Your Weakness, and then takes a more airy approach for Seven Davis Jr on For Your Love, accommodating the style of both.
Whatever he does, it clicks. And not just in a way that you’d see solely on a dance chart, but with hooks that are so on-point pop that they’d have no trouble gaining wider appeal. It’s an absolute smile of a record, content in its own revelry. If by the end of Knockin’ Boots you’re not inspired to do the dirty yourself, you might want to check your pulse.
Knockin’ Boots by Julio Bashmore can be ordered here.