It’s All Around You

Thrill Jockey

If there’s one ubiquitous thing surrounding Tortoise’s It’s All Around You it would be middling praise. These would be assessments like, “it’s good, but…,” “I like it, even though…,” etc. Some circles have even thrown the harshest crit word at this disc: boring.

In truth, It’s All Around You is far from boring. It’s extremely low-key and borders easy listening on quite a few tracks, but all receptive ears should find the album engaging. The music is a step back from the abrasiveness of Standards, veering toward the ice fortress sheen of Millions Now Living Will Never Die. Songs like “Stretch (You Are All Right)” and “On the Chin” are replete with swaying, fluid rhythms courtesy of rich percussion and heavily atmospheric electronics while minimal Morriconne-ian lead guitar lines are laced through the sonic haze. The bulk of the album is made up of exquisite, but fleeting moments, like the playful, alternately tight and loose “Five Too Many” and the too-quiet-for-tinnitus “Unknown.” The only real misstep is when the band enlists some lyricless female cooing to make a grasp for Air on “The Lithium Stiffs,” only to fall short of the moon safari they’d hoped for.

What it comes down to is that while this is a beautiful album, for the most part, this band has played these notes before. A holding pattern with a slightly regressive bent isn’t exactly what’s expected from a group as adventurous as Tortoise. Think of this album as your father’s Tortoise: nowhere near as aggressively progressive as they’ve been in the past, but still thoroughly enjoyable.

Thrill Jockey:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

  • A Musical Manifesto for the Pandemic
    A Musical Manifesto for the Pandemic

    Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians Globe of Frogs helps Jeffrey Schweers endure the pandemic in another burst of Wax On!

  • Laion Roberto
    Laion Roberto

    A Taste for Mojo. Review by Stacey Zering.

  • Hinds

    The Prettiest Curse (Mom + Pop Records). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Coriky

    Coriky (Dischord). Review by Scott Adams.

  • Sylvester

    Known for birthing two of the most iconic crossover anthems of the disco era -“You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” and “Dance (Disco Heat)” Sylvester’s sensational 1978 set, “Step II” has just been reborn, via Craft Recordings.

  • Teddy Thompson
    Teddy Thompson

    Heartbreaker Please (Thirty Tigers). Review by Carl F. Gauze.

  • Keri Johnson
    Keri Johnson

    Anyone. Review by Stacey Zering.

  • Liberté

    Generoso Fierro reviews Albert Serra’s new transgressive feature Liberté, winner of the Special Jury Prize at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.

  • Junko Beat
    Junko Beat

    Satirifunk (Dumparade Records). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Blood Tide
    Blood Tide

    Richard Jefferies classic looks like a new film in the Blu-ray reissue.

From the Archives