Originally from Portland, Oregon, Jordan Beckett formed the band Bootstraps in Los Angeles along with Nathan Warkentin and David Quon. Friends from college, the trio started tracking their material live and those sessions have led to their self-titled debut album. Although I am a few months late getting to this one, it's another case of better late than never as Bootstraps demands a place on my Best of 2012 list.
Beckett claims he set out to make a 'road trip record' and that is a perfect summation of this album. Imagine driving amongst the most astounding visual landscapes you've ever seen, surrounded by natural beauty, then put this perfect soundtrack to those visuals on and let the music do the rest. There are elements of folk, rock and country on Bootstraps, all held together with soaring harmonies and melodies that will not be denied or forgotten. This is a band making music that they believe in, without giving in to any current trends, and it is a gorgeous listen.
Bootstraps clocks in at just under 34 minutes in length but it is a seamless production, everything flows perfectly. I'd much rather have a flawless, concise album than one bloated with filler material anyday and the band deliver just that. But if I am forced to single out individual tracks, I must start with the majestic "OH CA", one of six Bootstraps songs used in the 2011 movie Take Me Home. Beckett's voice is often compared to Ray LaMontagne, and I hear the resemblance, but he also reminds me a bit of Ben Ottewell of Gomez.
Other highlights include the haunting acoustic based "Haywire", the whispers and echoes of ballad "Nothin On You Kid", the powerful "Guiltfree" and the tender harmonies of "Fortyfive". There is a cinematic quality to everything here and it is an album that grabs you and won't let go. The band's music is starting to become a mainstay on television as well with placement on a number of network shows which hopefully will give Bootstraps a higher profile as we enter 2013. This is an album that deserves to be heard and, once it is, will not be forgotten.
Bootstraps was released September 18, 2012 via Extension Music/Redeye Distribution.