Ian Matthews

Shook

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Nearly ten years removed from his folk and country-rock days, Shook, with its synth-based new wave, may have seemed like Ian Matthews' most unexpected solo album to date, but Spot of Interference (1980), and especially his work with the band Hi-Fi, more than hinted at this direction. Like the majority of records that rely on technology, there's always a risk of becoming dated, but Matthews' keen ear for hooks and strong material -- including tunes by Duncan Browne, Gerry Rafferty, and the Yardbirds, and some intriguing originals -- helps the best moments here succeed despite the timely sound. Still, Shook is probably the trendiest record of his career, and suffers because of that, with electronic drums and keyboards that in retrospect can sound almost silly and garish, as opposed to cutting edge. Fans who wrote Ian Matthews off after the mid-'70s probably won't find much here to bring them back, but those who enjoyed the experiments of his previous few projects should be relatively pleased. Not released in the U.S. or Great Britain, Shook would be his last recording for five years.

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