Review Summary: Not the most well-rounded debut, but certainly the most sonically interesting debut I've heard in years.
BOOTS is the pseudonym for up-and-coming hip-hop/R&B/rock producer Jordy Asher. At one point, this man was living in his car. The next day, he produces “Drunk In Love.” I mean…what? Quite the 180 if you ask me. From there he went to help produce some of my favorite albums of this decade, notably Run the Jewels 2 and FKA Twigs’ M3LL155X. The man is talented. He has a very distinct production that is still well grounded in obvious trip-hop, hip-hop and even industrial influences. Like a more ethereal, soulful Nine Inch Nails.
So yeah, he’s talented. He’s established this immediately in his young career that he’s capable of making beats. This brings us to his first solo project AQUARIA. The album really let us see his sole creative input without the help of other producers like Timbaland or El-P. And the beats on AQUARIA are very stellar. Literally. They sound like they come from a trip through the star-gate if it was the year 3001 instead of 2001. It’s impressive in production style, texture, depth and composition/instrumentation, all of which sound much deliberated upon by Jordy. He also provides vocals here, and the shortcomings of this album start there: the vocals are a definite afterthought. There isn’t real vocal range and there isn’t very notable lyricism.
That being said, I think this album still needs to be acknowledged (better than what Columbia Records’ ass marketing job would indicate). This album proves to me that BOOTS has got something very interesting and our ears should stay tuned for the future with this guy. There are amazing tracks here, and one or two tracks that drag on. The production is fantastic, the vocals are mediocre. But these are all things that can be worked on and fine-tuned in the future. BOOTS provided not the best debut I’ve ever seen, but definitely the most interesting in a while. The standout tracks include “Brooklyn Gamma,” “Bombs Away,” “I Run Roulette” and the title track. The only real snooze here is “Dead Come Running.” Again. FANTASTIC production. He can only go up from this debut in my opinion, producing hip hop or fine-tuning his vocals. BOOTS is something to be heard in the future.