Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. Call it the fascinating intersection of jazz, lounge, prog and electro, if you must, but ultimately Tortoise produce music of the most valuable and enduring kind--beyond genres and labels, in a category all of its own.
  2. It follows that if the fellas in Tortoise know what makes their sound perfect, they also know how to avoid hitting that mark. Beacons’ biggest weakness is that it lacks the fluidity of a classic like Standards. Fortunately, that’s exactly the weakness currently required from post-rock’s still-relevant forefathers.
  3. It can be incredibly difficult for an experimental group to continue experimenting for years on end without getting stale, but Tortoise achieve that balance effortlessly.
  4. Beacons demonstrates that Tortoise is still more than capable of releasing an exciting album.
  5. Beacons Of Ancestorship is pretty much what the avid Tortoise fan would consider par for the course, in that its a veering cascade of inherent surprises that never fails to astound, amaze or disappoint.
  6. It was as if all of those constituent elements were combined in equal parts and to perfect balance and have since simply been maintained.
  7. There’s plenty here for diehards to dissect (Wilhelm scream, anyone?) but the album’s real draw is its outright appeal to those unversed in the band’s back catalog.
  8. The funny thing is that for most bands, Beacons of Ancestorship would be the very definition of an ambitious record--commanding, aiming for conceptual unity and broad scope. But this mode seems to come naturally for Tortoise, and their mastery of it accounts for the record's broad successes and slight drawbacks alike.
  9. Textual descriptions may be difficult to understand without listening through the album's 11 songs, but for someone who has been a faithful listener since their eponymous 1994 debut it is important to know that Beacons Of Ancestorship is surely a keeper.
  10. This new direction doesn't feel like a 180-degree response to the noodly fusion sounds of It's All Around You so much as a natural desire to light out for new territory.
  11. The five-piece appropriates form any genre, including rampaging punk, techno, twitchy jazz and desert-baked samba, but with renewed adventure. The 11 tracks burble and skitter to new corners and heights.
  12. Rather than the longer, complex compositions, the four shortest tracks here are the most intriguing, as they compress Tortoise’s way of layering disparate ideas into brief, disorienting beatscapes.
  13. So, despite feeling that this is a good, rather than great, album, my score for it may have gone up a point or so by the end of the year. Here’s to the return of Tortoise...
  14. Alternative Press
    A few throwaways aside, Beacons is a welcome kick in the tush. [Jul 2009, p.131]
  15. A veteran band like Tortoise has pushed past those cinematic expectations--some spawning from that vague term “post-rock”--and emerged with the immediate and bracing sound of Beacons of Ancestorship.
  16. Tortoise have made a welcome escape from the dusty ’90s indie crypt.
  17. Under The Radar
    Varied yet remarkably cohesive, think of Beacons Of Ancestorship as an extended, classical composition because Tortoise doesn't write songs, the band write movements in different parts. [Summer 2009, p.69]
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 7 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. RobertB
    Jun 28, 2009
    Best since TNT. The first half of the disc is stunning.
  2. ChrisS
    Jun 26, 2009
    WTF. Yeah you should buy Sunn O)))'s album instead, because metacritic gave it a 10(!). There's nothing wrong with this album. If WTF. Yeah you should buy Sunn O)))'s album instead, because metacritic gave it a 10(!). There's nothing wrong with this album. If you want to buy a relaxing album this is your cue. I wish people would stop comparing every subsequent release to "millions....". Full Review »