Since the early 90’s, Tortoise have produced some of the finest albums in prog-rock and experimental scene, including my favorite Millions Now Living Will Never Die back in 1996.. After a 5-year absent (excluding their previous album The Brave and the Bold which was a collaboration with Bonnie ‘Prince’Billy), they are back with their 6th album titled Beacon of Ancestorship (out on Thrill Jockey label on June 23rd).
So what do these old rockers have to offer after 15 years on the prog-rock scene? Lots more experimentation I guess. The album is a mix of almost any genre you might think of, from rock to reggae and punk to rumba. The real question here is if it all works? A lot of dedicated Tortoise fans might not agree with me, but I find this latest album too experimental for my taste. The guys are mixing way too many tunes and rhythms in each track, constantly changing the tempo and ending each trip abruptly. Perhaps this is my biggest let-down; just when you start to sink into each track, Tortoise have chosen to move you forward into the next one without allowing you the pleasure of drifting along their sound. Or perhaps I missed the old Tortoise sound..who knows..it just didn’t work for me this time.