Nearly everybody reading this weekly electronic magazine has heard Tortoise by now and has already made up their mind one way or another on Tortoise's music. It's almost pointless to review the disc here as fans will most likely buy it and non-fans will most likely pass. If there was one rule to always believe in when it came to Tortoise's music is that the rules change every time. This time around the group pulled almost a complete 180° from 1998's TNT. While TNT took several months to record and loads of post-production perfectioning time, Standards was perfected live on the road (while the band opened for The Eternals as 'Woodcult') and recorded within a couple weeks. TNT was a cold-calculated exercise in recording technology while Standards is the result of a true rock band in action, bringing many influences and backgrounds to the easel and almost spitting them up on to the canvas without lengthy hesitation. The album explodes at the start with much louder than expected teeth-gnashing rock riffs, beefy drums, chunky bass and a nasty organ. Thus the concept is established - a simple rock concept of ten songs, five to each side of the record, almost the anti-concept of 'Millions' and even 'TNT' to some extent. The rest of the songs bounce around from slow to mid-tempo numbers balancing a somewhat familiar mix, as the group hasn't really changed. It's still the same people - the same paintbrushes are being used but the painting is of a rather new style. Familiar sounds include the counterpoint between low guitar and vibes, grumbling basslines, colorful percussion and a perfect amount of electronic manipulation. Perhaps this is the album which will unite fans of the old debut with the fans of TNT. Look out for the proverbial overpriced Japanese edition. This one's got 2 bonus tracks which total about 11 minutes.