The Catastrophist marks Tortoise's return to action after seven years and it's out now via Thrill Jockey.
Chicago post-rock veterans had released the first track off the album, the synth-y Gesceap, a while ago. The Catastrophist features the band's signature atmospheric style, yet it feels and sounds quite different than any other work of theirs in the rich career they've had so far. For the first time ever, a Tortoise album features vocals, courtesy of Yo La Tengo's Georgia Hubley and U.S. Maple's Todd Rittman, the latter doing the singing for an unexpected and pretty odd cover of David Essex's classic, Rock On.
Tortoise's seventh full length in 22 years feels like a pivotal record for their course in music, a sort of an equivalent to Mogwai's Rock Action, not only because of the presence of the vocals, but also the playful experimentation and its freshness. The Catastrophist is a fresh breath of air, not only for Tortoise's already impressive résumé, but for the whole genre, which from time to time seems to have a tendency to remain stale and require some boost from records such as this. Together with Bowie's album, The Catastrophist is one of the first essential records of 2016 and a revitalizing step forward for the band.
The album is streaming in its entirety below via The Guardian.
Available on various formats and editions via Thrill Jockey