I know Herbaliser but I don’t own an album by them. That’s not surprising because I don’t own a lot of Ninja Tune albums and they have been one of Ninja Tune’s flagship acts for decades now. I used to spend an awful lot of money on albums back in the 90’s and noughties but it seemed that WARP always won out over Ninja Tune when I was shopping. Of the Ninja Tune albums that I still own, the only ones I can name are the two double compilations Ninja Cuts and FunkKungFusion but tellingly, while I’ve ditched a reasonable proportion of the tunes on there, I’ve kept Herbaliser’s tunes. While Herbaliser may not be the most cutting edge or innovative producers out there, they excel at producing dub-by, slightly stoned hip-hop, that sidesteps fashion in favour of popularity, and if this album is an indicator of what they’ve been up to over the years then I’ve been missing out. Each and every song on this album has something to say, with solid beats and basslines, great melody lines and well chosen collaborations presenting an album of formidable quality. While it’s recognizable as a Ninja Tune album (despite being on the band’s own Department H label) it doesn’t show any of the cracks that prevented me being a huge fan in the past and it’s clear that the Herbalisers has been polishing their skills rather than resting on their Ninja laurels. You only need to listen to bulletproof tunes like “Mother Dove”, “A Sad State of Affairs” (featuring the excellent George The Poet) or “March Of The Dead Things” to realise how good this album is. And as they point out on “Danny Glover” they may well have been doing this a long time but by no means are they too old.