Standards - Tortoise

Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 20
  2. Negative: 1 out of 20
  1. Not only is it the most acoustically enthralling album they've released, it's also without a doubt the most playful, dynamic, and anthemic post-rock album that has been released to date.
  2. 90
    Throughout Standards, Tortoise takes the listener on mini-journeys into sound that alternately shimmer, contort, seduce, and confound...
  3. Standards is disarmingly stunning and instantaneously consuming. Tortoise are unquestionably skilled artisans, electrocuting the framework for the typical rock song and reconstructing the fragments into a wonderfully surrealist space mission soundtrack.
  4. Tortoise have finally integrated their influences and discovered how to do more than mimic...
  5. If you value surehandedness, richness, immaculate timing and the occasional tilted eyebrow then there's a lot to enjoy on Tortoise's most assured set to date. [#204, p.65]
  6. A thing of strange beauty, with melodies and sensations slipping in and out of focus. [2/23/01, p.163]
  7. Standards is a mature work in the best sense, an example of a rock band--yes, a rock band--that has grown into its sound and is now relaxed enough to have fun with it. [#4, p.107]
  8. Overall, Standards has a few detours for fans conscious of any band's "progression," but plenty of interesting songs and great musicianship for less vested listeners. Though it doesn't develop the evocative or impressionistic side of Tortoise (as heard on TNT), the band is certainly as inventive as ever
  9. More tightly structured than their last outing TNT, this has enough dizzy polyrhythms and craziness for the free jazzers but is chock full of tunes, good humour and a certain grooviness
  10. Standards succeeds by making the most of the intellectual side of Tortoise--their stylistic cross-pollinations, their meta-musical analyses--without ever losing sight of the music's ability to do more than engage the mind. [March 2001, p.94]
  11. The influence of recent collaborators like Autechre and Spring Heel Jack is prevalent throughout much of the album as tracks like 'Eros' fuse jazzy, organic instrumentation like marimbas and guitar to colder cut-up beats.
  12. Ultimately, Standards is Tortoise's Fragile or Hot Rats -- the sort of successful artwork that tells you a band's concept is peaking.
  13. 80
    So even as Tortoise integrate guitar surrealism and edgier motifs into their palette, they also progress their unique relationship to electronic music and hip-hop. [#82, p.139]
  14. It's surprisingly gentle, allowing the emotional context of a soundtrack or accompaniment rather than the vacuum-packed, controlled conditions art of their last album.
  15. What finally rescues this album from the graveyard of cerebral noodling is rhythm.
  16. 70
    It's somewhere between the album we've been waiting for Eno to release since 'My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts' and the album we wish Phish would stop releasing altogether. [Apr 2001, p.154]
  17. The jazz leanings and fascination with electronic music remain, and are sometimes imprudently indulged, but in general the band seems to have a renewed awareness of the needs of the people on the other side of the speakers.
  18. Given that Tortoise's previous recordings have spawned a procession of remixes and re-imaginings, is Standards to be judged on its own merits, or as the raw material for music yet to come? As always, the band is poised between capturing a momentary, malleable inspiration and shaping that moment into some timeless anthem, and as always, it chooses to dither and delay, settling for a sometimes pleasant, sometimes maddening, almost always stimulating exploration of atmospherics.
  19. The only obvious goal seems to be shorter, more direct songs, delivered with more straightforward demeanor.
  20. 20
    Tortoise makes like Herbie Hancock wandering through the '80s, all lost at the jazz-fusion supermarket. [#49, p.95]
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 8 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. EdH
    Nov 9, 2006
    Easily my favourite Tortoise release. It's a cohesive, well structured album, melodic and memorable. It has enough sonic consistency to be immersive as a whole, rather than a mere colection of tracks. Anyone who thinks there is too much 'noodling' and 'rambling' needs only to get more familiar with the music. Full Review »
  2. DantorD.
    Nov 23, 2001
    After i watced tortoise live in belglium this year, which i rate as one of my best concerts ever, i bought the album and listened for it for one week, nam. I would've preferred a bit more "raw" sound But of course it's a matter of personal taste and Tortoise can be a bit query in the beginning. Just listen to the album over and over again, and you will love it or hate it? Full Review »