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Tortoise: It's All Around You

 
Tortoise
It's All Around You

Its almost too easy to start this review off by somehow mentioning the tortoise and the hare story; I could note how Tortoise the band is like the tortoise in the story, similar in that each takes the slower route to victory; or perhaps I could compare other bands to the hare and note how faster is not always better and that lots of bands can learn from Tortoise. Or else I could avoid any natural imagery and talk about how Tortoise is one of the more consistent bands right now (which in itself could be a tortoise reference). Either way, to get down to the business at hand, I have to admit that this album does start a little weak (which is another tortoise reference). The first 5 songs get off to a slow start (god damn that tortoise); its not until 'Dot/Eyes' that they start to boost the tempo a little, but even then its only temporarily. One can't even get the dancing shoes on before its back to the lo-fi, droned out ambient fusion that Tortoise is known for. After Dot/Eyes, the album slips back into slow mode again for 3 songs (that god damn hare passes the tortoise).  Ending the album is the super strong, funkified chaos of 'Salt the Skies'. Next to 'Dot/Eyes', its the strongest track the record has to offer. Its got that amazing build up into a quasi-Allman Brothers meet Chick Corea appeal. The tortoise thus surpasses the hare.

Darren Susin

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