2001, Music

Standards (2001) by Tortoise

I like the title, it’s funny.

This is the rockiest Tortoise record I’ve yet heard, at least some of the time. (There are plenty of tracks that contradict that feeling, though.) That may have something to do with how there is ostensibly less studio editing on most of these tracks. The whole thing may have been made in a more organic way and that just lends itself to a slightly more rocky sound than their earlier music.

Nearly everything is just a titch shorter, which does give it the feeling of slightness, at least a little bit. There’s no “Djed” but there’s no “TNT” even. There’s a greater fragmentary sense to the compositions, I would say, than on TNT. But I think that’s also because it is leaning into a slightly harsher/louder sound which gives the impression of being a relatively diverse record for them, even if that’s not true. (TNT is a pretty diverse record for the specific genre of post-rock that Tortoise play, I’d say. And this isn’t clearly less diverse than that record. It’s just different, which seems to be giving me the illusion of diversity.)

I like it, it’s right up my alley. But I have trouble escaping the feeling that it just isn’t up to the, um, standard (sorry!) of their previous two albums which is, admittedly, extremely high. It’s the kind of thing I’m either going to fall in love with, with a bit of time, or realize that it’s lesser work, once I have time to listen to it as part of their broader oeuvre. I have no idea when either of those things may happen, because I have too much other listening to do. One drawback of listening to albums on their anniversaries constantly is that you never listen to albums in catalogue context.

But it’s certainly very pleasant and very much up my alley.

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