2015 has already seen some brilliant British dance albums in the shape of Jamie XX's 'In Colour' and The Chemical Brothers' 'Born In The Echoes' amongst others. 'Knockin' Boots', the debut album from Bristol-based producer Julio Bashmore, could just top them - at least until Disclosure release their forthcoming 'Caracal' next month.
Bashmore first broke through in 2012 with his deep house track Au Seve, though 'Knockin' Boots' is the sound of the past - a recreation of vintage house sounds, inspired by its Chicago roots in the music of Frankie Knuckles and the French House movement of the 90s. This may seem derivative, but with so many dance artists following Disclosure down the deep house path, it's refreshing to see an artist change tact and celebrate the genre's heritage.
And so we have the giddy joy of the Daft Punk inspired She Ain't; the hard disco funk of Rhythm of Auld; the smooth vocals of For Your Love; the chopped spoken vocals of What's Mine is Mine; the African grooves of Umuntu; and the sun-dappled synths of Simple Love. In Bashmore's own words, house music is essentially "chopped-up soul music" - in no track is that clearer than lead single Holding On, with its warm synths, skittering beats and harmonious vocals.
The album flows like a DJ set, so whilst you'll find some lighter tracks with tuneful melodies and synth hooks (Holding On, Let Me Be Your Weakness), there are also harder tracks with dry beats and rhythmic samples (What's Mine is Mine, Bark). These tracks can become a little repetitive and lack the invention of elsewhere. What you won't find on 'Knockin' Boots' are the electro-pop hooks of Daft Punk, or the chart-topping collaborations of Disclosure.
What you will find is a serious dance album. Bashmore isn't concerned with pop or crossover appeal, instead he's delivered an authentic dance album that combines house music past with the polish of the present, with plenty of his own flourishes. Equally, it's an infectious, funky rush of an album: a serious history lesson disguised as fun.
* Holding On
* Let Me Be Your Weakness
* Simple Love
Listen: 'Knockin' Boots' is out now.