Tortoise
Beacons of Ancestorship


2.5
average

Review

by IsItLuck? EMERITUS
June 23rd, 2009 | 29 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Beacons Of Ancestorship is delicately balanced on seesaw, at any moment shifting for better or worse

Not too long ago, Tortoise reminded everyone why we love their distinct blend of post-rock with A Lazarus Taxon, a three disc box set of rare material. That retracted the rekindling of their timeless albums TNT and Millions Now Living Will Never Die, where Tortoise essentially grew to what they are today. Now we find Tortoise stepping away from their marimba set and welcome a new wave of synthesized hooks. Abrasive, yet melodic, Tortoise’s approach is straightforward, but the execution is questionable.

Beacons Of Ancestorship begins with a high frequency pitch, as “High Class Slim Came Floatin' In” moseys listeners with aural, spacey synth melodies. Awkward, intentional transitions trudge “High Class Slim Came Floatin' In” until more than halfway through when a thick, distorted bass riff hastily takes the song in another direction. This is the start of what has become a never-ending love-hate relationship with Beacons of Ancestorship. Listening to “Prepare Your Coffin” and “Minors” unfolds an appreciation of their changing style, until one considers what that song could have been ten years ago. Yet Tortoise insists on a heavy rock mantra, with an ever dissipating jazz undertone. Once again, acknowledging the change is one thing, but adapting and mastering the change is a completely different task.

One of the brighter moments comes with “de Chelly” and “Penumbra.” The ambient “de Chelly” is a natural interlude for “Charteroak Foundation” while the thumping “Penumbra” shifts and slides gracefully. Meanwhile, “The Fall Of Seven Diamonds Plus One” could easily be the next build-up theme for Western shootout or a scene reminiscent of a hazy, sweltering summer journey. With a chain keeping a steady beat and two guitars slowly keeping pace, it becomes a perfect serenade (but perhaps too similar to their Millions Now Living Will Never Die, closer “Along the Banks of Rivers”). With that, “The Fall of Seven Diamonds Plus One” succeeds by separating and removing the somewhat monotonous dense distortions that can suffocate the albums beauty.

Unfortunately, Beacons Of Ancestorship may leave listeners concussed; as there are only a handful of memorable musical fragments. There seems to be a sense of overlapping, preventing any distinct showcasing without revisiting a track. Tortoise have changed dramatically since their blast into musical recognition and Beacons of Ancestorship is a setback. After all, living in the shadows of a famous, successful relative may be an impossible act to follow, and that is, metaphorically, what has plagued Tortoise.



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user ratings (96)
Chart.
3.3
great
other reviews of this album
zenblade (3)
Starting off very strongly before dissolving into mediocrity, Beacons of Ancestorship is a frustrati...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Shrapnel94
June 23rd 2009


2213 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

New Tortoise album?????? What???

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
June 23rd 2009


4947 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

where have you been! they have the first two tracks on their myspace

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
June 23rd 2009


16749 Comments


i couldn't even get into millions now living so i doubt ill like this

thebhoy
Emeritus
June 23rd 2009


4463 Comments


I'm going to check this out despite you, so ha!

joshuatree
Emeritus
June 23rd 2009


3741 Comments


won't bother with this

iarescientists
June 23rd 2009


5865 Comments


never got into TNT so prob won't listen to this

Chewie
June 23rd 2009


4539 Comments


oddly enough, one of my teachers is a huge Tortoise fan, he'll be disappointed.

freeliminator
June 23rd 2009


78 Comments


everyone will be disappointed if ryan flatley doesn't like it!

Chewie
June 23rd 2009


4539 Comments


(considering that its as average as he says)

iarescientists
June 23rd 2009


5865 Comments


derek chewie what do ryan flatley's lips taste like

Shrapnel94
June 23rd 2009


2213 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This actually isnt that bad so far.

Chewie
June 23rd 2009


4539 Comments


derek chewie what do ryan flatley's lips taste like


luck

MassiveAttack
June 23rd 2009


2754 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

How disappointing =(

Shrapnel94
June 23rd 2009


2213 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

its not too bad, Im thinking somewhere between a 3 and 3.5.

Electric City
Emeritus
June 24th 2009


15762 Comments


no surprise here

NortherlyNanook
June 24th 2009


1285 Comments


i like tortoise

i might try this out

CrazyFool84
June 24th 2009


1082 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

only heard Prepare Your Coffin so far, but that's reason enough to check this out

feav233
June 24th 2009


1411 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i enjoyed TNT, about to check this out

AlKal
June 24th 2009


10 Comments


>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Glomp
June 24th 2009


81 Comments


I'm obsessed with Standards and TNT, however the one track I heard off of this was absolutely awful.



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