Tortoise – The Catastrophist (Thrill Jockey, 2016)
Less of a progression and more of a lateral shift, The Catastrophist is as pleasing as it is inoffensive. Though less experimental than their previous album, Beacons of Ancestorship, the album’s titular opener immediately serves up welcoming synths, giving way to a bass-heavy groove that’s distinctly Tortoise’s. With the exception of an unfathomable cover of David Essex’s “Rock On,” The Catastrophist doesn’t do much wrong, rolling along predictably while painting an admirably colorful canvas. While those yearning for Tortoise’s more minimalist years will predictably sound the alarm in outrage, this is a latter-day Tortoise album through and through, for better or worse.
Trial Track: “The Catastrophist”