Tortoise - Standards

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Chicago's post-rock godfathers Tortoise use 'Standards' as an opportunity to scale down from the computer-based constructions of their previous 'TNT'. Instead of incorporating their former cut-and-paste method of composition on their fourth full-length album, the quintet return to playing and interacting with each other in a live setting, resulting in a much more organic feel. The opener 'The Benway' begins standards auspiciously, with rubato bursts of distorted guitar and free-floating drums, in an homage to jazz-rock guitarist Sonny Sharrock. From here on anything goes, as plaintive analog synth melodies vie with electronically processed percussion, Jeff Parker's trademark angular guitar riffs, and some of the trashiest-sounding drums this side of nuggets. As ever, Tortoise incorporates elements of electronic music, modern classical, experimental / avant garde, and hip-hop in a format that references the group's rock roots without ever bowing to rock convention. The fourth full length from Tortoise, boldy announces their return following 1998's 'TNT'. The leader's of innovation in a lot of ways, John Mcentire and his clan continue with an excellent album.