Call it a passive-aggressive reflex: Snark-bash post-rockers long and hard enough, and eventually, they will strike back, and hard. So maybe that's why Beacons of Ancestorship, Tortoise's sixth studio album and first in a half-decade, resolutely asks no quarter, and gives none. Along with xylophones, tambourines, keyboards, and pretty much every other instrument you can think of, synthesizers have always been a key piece of weaponry in Tortoise's arsenal, as the quintet fold jazz, krautrock, and fusion into smooth, speckled shapes. Never before, though, have their synths bristled and bulged so, bludgeoning and bashing forth with ill will unbecoming dudes with For Carnation and Eleventh Dream Day lineage. Beacons is impressive the way a class-five hurricane is impressive: At a distance, you'll admire it, but up close it's all a bit too much. In live performance, thankfully, Tortoise scale back their intensity—so what's off-putting on aluminum may prove more palatable onstage. With Pit Er Pat. (Photo by Brad Miller)
Fri., Oct. 2, 7 p.m., 2009

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