Published May 29, 2015Although he's released eight full-lengths over the past nine years, Matthew Herbert is billing The Shakes as the proper follow-up to 2006's Scale. After flirting with conceptual sound experiments (One Pig), nu-jazz (There's Me and There's You) and even symphonic music (Mahler Symphony X), Herbert promised to return to the dance floor for this LP. But over 12 sonically tight anthems, featuring vocals from Amy Winehouse's former backup singer, Ade Omotayo, and Hejira vocalist Rahel Debebe-Dessalegne, The Shakes takes on a more reserved, polished and airy sound than what Herbert has dubbed "house music."
Tracks like the slow-ascending opener, "Battle," the bubbling "Bed" and the barely-there "Silence" are incredibly spacious and tempered, coming off like throwback quiet storm R&B. But because this is Matthew Herbert, The Shakes is nonetheless brimming with alien sounds and left-field rhythms (culled from objects purchased on eBay), proving that even the most subdued Herbert release is still pretty damn fascinating. (Caroline International)