Knockin' Boots kicks off with a run of strong pop-house tunes, exactly the kind you'd expect from a PMR artist. Where label mates Cyril Hahn and Disclosure make sparkly, radio-friendly fodder, Walker uses the basics of house and disco for his tunes, and builds them methodically, like a bricklayer—there's a chunky kick drum here, a breezy string sample there, maybe a cheeky gospel sample. "Holding On" is among the strongest examples of this approach, essentially based on a single loop, some disco kicks and a catchy vocal from Sam Dew. The sampling is rudimentary, but Walker has never been flashy. His gift for repetitive, addictive hooks sets him apart—it's what makes him good as a producer of both pop and club music. Those simple pleasures are all over Knockin' Boots, making even its kooky moments ("Use me like a credit card" is a lyric marring the otherwise lovely "Let Me Be Your Weakness") easier to swallow.
In fact, Walker's vocal tunes have become so strong that the instrumentals on Knockin' Boots feel undercooked in comparison. The standard filter-funk of "What's Mine Is Mine" and the bland repetition of "Bark" (which, yes, uses a barking dog as its melodic lead) are one-dimensional compared to the richer cuts around them. Momentum picks up with the deliciously oddball "Umuntu," featuring South African vocalist Okmalumcoolcat, and the pace continues from there.
Since starting Broadwalk, Walker has been trying to balance club music and pop music, though it's when he combines the two that he really succeeds. Take "For Your Love": freefalling into a decadent chorus after the more rigid verse, the song aims at the dance floor as well as the radio with help from a Seven Davis Jr. vocal. Sometimes Walker can have his cake and eat it, too, and on the best moments of Knockin' Boots, he does.
Fri / 7 Aug 2015
01. Knockin Boots
02. Holding On feat. Sam Dew
03. She Aint feat. Julie Mendoza
04. Let Me Be Your Weakness feat. Bixby
05. Rhythm Of Auld feat. J'Danna
06. For Your Love feat. Seven Davis Jr
07. What's Mine Is Mine
09. Umuntu feat. Okmalumkoolkat
10. Simple Love feat. J'Danna
11. Kong feat. Bixby
12. You & Me