Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Standards - Tortoise (So Long, Ruins!)


Thrill Jockey Records.

SCQ Rating: 56%

Never buy strange records after a few drinks. In fact, any music-lover should steer clear of drunk record-shopping, period! If you’re not careful, you’ll wind up walking out into the night with something critics hailed as a classic several years back and a twister of journalist’s paraphrased sound-bytes jumbling around your brain, jazzing you up for no reason. Is Standards impressive because it’s enjoyable or because it’s trying to impress? ‘Seneca’ is a widescreen, spaghetti-western of an opener, dropping a gauntlet of free-form jazz drumming and heavy bass. Moments nearly match ‘Seneca’ throughout Standard’s start-stop pace, but most of it feels too mechanical; as if the creativity behind it all was so forced that we, as listeners, learn to anticipate its stressed-out objectives. Yeah, it’s impressive in that these songs now exist whereas they didn’t before, but I doubt that’s what all their math-rock and tweaked synths were aiming for.

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