Tortoise – It’s All Around You

Post-rockers' fifth album, and first since 2000. Lovely cover, shame about the music

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It’s now approaching a decade since Tortoise’s masterpiece, Millions Now Living Will Never Die, which seems to have proved to be the beginning and end of post-rock. Since then they’ve shown few signs of escaping their aesthetic cul-de-sac, and It’s All Around You documents a continuing decline. Long since superseded by Godspeeds and Mogwais, Tortoise attempt to emulate the grandeur of the latter on tracks like “Unknown” to little effect. Elsewhere, “Sail The Skies” again proves how useless they are at rocking out; “On The Chin” is pretty in a High Llamas-backing-track kind of way; and one just has to say NO to the pompous “Crest”, which recalls nothing less than early-’80s Mike Oldfield. Tortoise in 2004?what’s the point?

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