Boomkat Product Review:
The fifth Studio album from Tortoise arrives following months of speculation regarding it's direction and possible new sound. The lineup of the band reads like a who's who of the post-rock and avant-jazz scene that Chicago has nurtured over the last decade - featuring members of Eleventh Dream Day, Slint, Brokeback, Isotope 217, Bastro, Gastr Del Sol, the Red Krayola, the Sea and Cake, King Kong, Toe 2000 and Tar Babies to name but a few. "It's all around you" opens with its two strongest tracks. The classic, melancholy title piece opens the set - awe inspiring with its skittering percussion, trademarked vibraphone and gut-wrenching hooks that sound like vintage, heart stopping Tortoise. "The Lithium Stiffs' is up next - notable for the sublime vocal contribution of Kelly Hogan (the band's first vocal collaboration since their debut album), all midnight rhythms and layered slivers of voice that make for music that is at once introspective and vastly cinematic. Other highlights come with the slighty Morricone-esque "Crest", the downcast headnod immersion in electronics and beatsof the excellent "Unknown" and the brutally robust percussive engine on "Dot/Eyes". Much like their other four albums (their debut perhaps excluded), "It's All Around You" feels a little over-long despite its relatively modest 45 minute timespan - but dipped into with careful selection the album contains some of the bands most riveting music to date. Recommended.