Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. 90
    Evidence that these musical minds are sharper than ever. [Jun 2004, p.87]
  2. The LP as a whole is a remarkable collection of ideas, which manages to be overwhelmingly creative, but intrinsically listenable.
  3. The music is consistently fresh, fascinating, and evocative... the band’s best album to date.
  4. Tortoise have created another batch of distinct, inimitable songs that strike a perfect balance between the academic and the playful, the immediate and the eternal.
  5. 84
    A choice specimen of audio sophisitication. [#9, p.106]
  6. Tortoise continue to traverse a vast sonic universe on their thrilling, experimental fifth CD. [16 Apr 2004, p.78]
  7. It's All Around You has both serious ambience and serious grooves, it rocks occasionally, and it doesn't dip into jazz nearly as much as some of their past releases.
  8. Not quite jazz, not quite electronica, and not quite indie rock, Tortoise continues to define and evolve their own compelling cosmology.
  9. The album's back half falls prey to some of the group's ponderous tendencies, taking long, slow detours through watered-down mood rock. But missteps are exceptions on It's All Around You, which casts the members of Tortoise as musical tourists governed by wandering eyes rather than anxiously readied cameras.
  10. Tortoise may be the only band that can match the everything-mashup steez, sonic skills, conceptual ambition, and breakbeat heat of the Roots.
  11. While it may not match the exuberant authority of a band at the height of its powers, set by Millions Now Living eight years ago, it does manage to prove itself worthy, in its own way, of the distinct creative voice that high-water mark captured so well.
  12. 75
    For all their sonic salad-tossing, Tortoise can't fade guitarist Jeff Parker, the band's secret weapon and the one dude whose instrument connects them explicitly to their college-radio roots. [May 2004, p.107]
  13. It's all Around You isn't their best -- or most challenging -- work, but it's a sign the band is still making music in a bubble.
  14. The sonic surprises scattered throughout... make the journey worthwhile.
  15. It's All Around You is a work of elegant, unhurried subtlety, shorn of the group's more pompous excesses, if also some of their muscle.
  16. Although the album doesn't knock the ball out of the park on first listen, ultimately it reveals just enough cool ideas to keep things interesting.
  17. Although there are no new dimensions here,... this still feels like musical fresh mint. [#242, p.67]
  18. Tortoise have, in the past, asked more from their listeners. This time they let us off a little too easy.
  19. Too many tracks on It’s All Around You don’t quite measure up to the compositional quality or imagination of previous works.
  20. 60
    It drifts rudderlessly in places, but at its best... it's among Tortoise's most persuasive music to date. [Apr 2004, p.108]
  21. 60
    The formula gets a bit stale. [May 2004, p.133]
  22. It's All Around You soon becomes just another Tortoise record, so close to previous records in composition and execution that it's virtually deja vu for any listeners who know the band well.
  23. It's an improvement over Standards, which sounded unfinished, but it's nowhere near the peaks of Millions, TNT, or even the self-titled first album's great "Tin Cans And Twine."
  24. While nothing on TNT or Standards was as influential as Tortoise's earlier work, those records succeeded largely because they marked new stylistic departures for a group that sounded genuinely excited by that prospect. Too many moments on It's All Around You lack that excitement.
  25. Like Japanese toys-- The Dream Workshop, and the Furby and Tamagochi before it-- Tortoise obviously spend hours in the lab honing the science, but the finished product comes with a one-time novelty factor.
  26. In fairness, if they'd released this in place of, say 'TNT' we'd probably have been all set to hail it as a truly delightful and conceivably seminal record. Instead, we find familiarity breeding just a touch of unexpected contempt.
  27. 40
    Documents a continuing decline. [May 2004, p.93]
  28. Pretty yet inconsequential, like a collection of half-finished spy film themes. [May 2004, p.108]
  29. A dozy dud. [Jun 2004, p.98]
  30. It's All Around You middles about with infuriatingly placid tracks that suggest a fading band merely treading water.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 13 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 9
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 9
  3. Negative: 1 out of 9
  1. Jessie
    May 5, 2007
  2. DugginsB
    Nov 14, 2006
    Excellent album.
  3. MIKEW
    Jan 23, 2006
    one of the best albums as a whole i've ever heard. the songs piece together as in Pink Floyd's dark side of the moon. there is no star of the band in tortoise. the band is one solid mass that can communicate better than most bands without using a single word. Full Review »