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Tortoise - It's All Around You CD (album) cover




Post Rock/Math rock

3.21 | 42 ratings

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4 stars This is the fifth album by Chicago outfit Tortoise. These guys are very consistent, yet no two albums sound the same. I could give all their albums 4 stars with the possible exception of the debut from 1994 and The Brave And The Bold which is really just a cover album with whatshisface.

Although one of the first groups to be labelled "post-rock", their sound is very diverse compared to most bands in that category. The music here is hard to describe. It's generally mellow and easy- going but can sometimes sound sinister and aggressive. The main instruments here are bass, drums and vibraphone/xylophone/marimba. There is plenty of keyboards and guitar as well. Almost no vocals except the female voice put through some computer program on "The Lithium Stiffs". The title track sounds like a cross between dub reggae and some exotic island music. There is a nice melodic guitar/marimba part that gets repeated throughout the song.

At the end of "The Lithium Stiffs" there is a piano part that continues into "Crest", except at the beginning of "Crest" it is now an electric harpsichord instead. Great segue. After about a minute and a half the rest of "Crest" reminds me of '70s Genesis. Seriously, you gotta hear this. Starting with the experimetal "Unknown" we start getting away from the mellow stuff. On "Dot/Eyes" we get some of the more intense music on the album. While "Unknown" sounds like the band is confused and lost(in a good way), "Dot/Eyes" sounds like they are mad and ready for a battle. The drums are the dominant instrument on "Dot/Eyes" which has a hi-hat pattern sustained thru the whole song. Back to the mellow with "On The Chin" whic has some cool organ.

"By Dawn" is another experimental and avant piece. "Five Too Many" has a nice drum pattern and a bassline that gets shared by two basses. The song ends with some Spanish guitar. The band made a video for the last song "Salt The Skies". I'm not sure if it's the only video the band ever made, but it's nothing special. The song the video was made for, however, is the best one on the album. "Salt The Skies" is even more aggressive than "Dot/Eyes". But even this song begins with a mellow part. Once the distorted bass starts it goes into overdrive. In the middle it gets almost metal with the drums and distorted guitars. Even this part has some lovely vibraphone in it. Nope, they couldn't let you off that easy. There is some distorted synth before we get back to the main part of the song. It ends with a brief reprise of the mellow part at the beginning.

For an album released in 2004, this sounds terrific. A rich sound with lots of dynamics. These guys should be more well known than they are. Unique music for the 2000s. 4 stars.

zravkapt | 4/5 |


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