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Album Review: Julio Bashmore – Knockin’ Boots

2 min read

Julio Bashmore’s Knockin’ Boots is nothing if not enjoyable, though ultimately it does come to feel rather a lot more reductive than it should. It just never really adds up to much, and while certainly slick, its multitude of highly polished layers are entertaining only for as long as they last. Indeed, by the time the album is done, one is left with a vague feeling of disappointment.

Julio Bashmore - Knockin' BootsBashmore’s default tone is an ever so slightly tongue in cheek cheesiness – tracks like album opener Bark drip with 80’s influenced excess. Pleasantly, there’s nothing to imply that the man doesn’t have a sense of humour about himself, but he never falls into the category of self-parody either. When the album is at its best, as on titular track Knockin’ Boots, Bashmore shows off his great promise, managing to nail an upbeat energy without ever allowing the proceedings to become dull or repetitive.

But the album’s problems eventually become too significant to ignore. Guest spots grate (with BIXBY’s turn on Kong and Let Me Be Your Weakness becoming particularly frustrating); grooves become repetitive; and melodies start to feel uninspired. She Ain’t, a startlingly unoriginal track, is really what sends Knockin’ Boots crashing to the ground, and manages to undo a lot of the goodwill the album previously inspired.

It’s a shame, really, because Bashmore is obviously talented, and when on the right track he has the capacity to knock it out of the park. But as a whole, Knockin’ Boots is a record with limited half life, and never once begs for multiple listens.