AbsolutePunk.net
   Username
Password
 
Album Review
Hint: Follow a reviewer to be notified when they post reviews.
Atmosphere - The Family Sign Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8
Musicianship 8
Lyrics 9
Production 9
Creativity 8.5
Lasting Value 8
Reviewer Tilt 8.5
Final Verdict: 84%
Member Ratings
Vocals 7.75
Musicianship 7.75
Lyrics 7.44
Production 7.94
Creativity 7.13
Lasting Value 7.25
Reviewer Tilt 7.56
Average: 75%
Inside AP.net

Atmosphere - The Family Sign

Reviewed by: Ian Walker (04/12/11)
Atmosphere - The Family Sign
Record Label: Rhymesayers Entertainment
Release Date: April 12, 2011

Atmosphere have built their legacy slowly, crafting it on each release with care and consideration. I can't say I've ever been unhappy with an Atmosphere album, because each one has felt like a step closer to perfection. Their progression is tangible in every sense of the word. Frontman Slug has matured over the years and become one of the most emotional lyricist in the hip-hop world today. DJ Ant has honed his craft, and it's paid off with sharp hooks and dynamic instrumentation that rivals some of the best in the game. Both are forces to be reckoned with on a singular level, so the product a combination of their talents creates is nothing short of fantastic.

The Family Sign features the additions of keyboardist Erick Anderson and guitarist Nate Collis, and they make their presence known on the very first track. “My Key” is a moody, expansive track that's light on vocals but heavy on ambience. Slug rhymes over Collis' echoing guitar riffs, a sound that's not foreign to an Atmosphere release but sounds much richer this time around. Collis and Anderson combine their talents beautifully as the intro for the next track, “The Last to Say,” another emotional track that details the distress that comes from growing up with an abusive parent. Piano chords and a soft, wailing guitar melody form the basis for Slug's lyrics. Although they remain reserved throughout the track, the combination of piercing subject matter and melancholy instrumentals demonstrate how Atmosphere have grown over the years while also showing flashes of what's made them so popular.

The album's two singles are also bundled together near the beginning. “Just For Show” is cocky and sarcastic, incorporating some of the most catchy lyrics and production on the whole record. Unique percussion combines with organs to compose a jumping beat that lend the track a disconsolate air. “She's Enough” is as upbeat a track as you're going to find on The Family Sign, but fails to grab as much attention as the others. While the positive lyrics about finding happiness with a woman are commendable, it doesn't do much to rise above the other tracks it's surrounded by and unfortunately falls by the wayside when placed alongside the the album's highlights.

The Family Sign's other unfortunate misstep arrives just after. “Bad Bad Daddy” carries itself as a admonishing of deadbeat fathers as Slug takes on their persona. Whether he's rhyming from experience or speaking metaphorically, it's unsuccessful at making any sort of statement, as the parodic nature of the stories he tells come off as too silly as the track reaches it's conclusion. Slug himself doesn't seem to take the lyrics seriously either as he delivers them with the inflections of a bad actor instead of the solid flow he's typically known for.

The best example of Atmosphere's progression on The Family Sign is best seen on the track “I Don't Need Brighter Days.” Heavy synth forms the basis for the instrumentation, as well as intermittent guitar riffs.. The beat is bulky and nasty while leaving room for Collis and Anderson to do their thing, and Slug switches effortlessly from rhyming to singing that matches the fluid nature of the production. It's apparent that they were collectively looking for an evolution in style on The Family Sign, and the help they received added a new layer of depth to their already immersive sound.

While the production emerges as the winner of the first half of the album, the final three tracks are rife with emotional lyricism that outshines the backing compositions. “If You Can Save Me Now” is a cry for help from a broken spirit caught in both a real and metaphorical car accident. “Something So” is Slug's ode to his child, with heartfelt lyrics about being surprised he could create “something so beautiful.” The Family Sign closes with “My Notes,” the shortest song on the album but one that carries the best of old and new Atmosphere within its confines. Anderson's piano melodies match perfectly with Slug's optimistic look at the future, and provides a great end to the album.

The Family Sign shows a side of Atmosphere that's rarely been seen before. While their skills have definitely improved in the time between now and their last full-length, they've also grown as individuals. Maturity can often be a hard pill to swallow, but with Atmosphere it's been an amazing ride. The Family Sign remains true to the group's endearing spirit while also demonstrating their ability to incorporate new ideas and experiences into their music. New additions Erick Anderson and Nate Collis add a richness to Atmosphere's sound without deviating from the path the group treads with each release. Slug has gone on record saying he doesn't enjoy performing tracks from their earlier discography, but I'm sure The Family Sign is a record he'll be proud of a decade from now.

Track Listing1. My Key
2. The Last to Say
3. Became
4. Just For Show
5. She's Enough
6. Bad Bad Daddy
7. Millenium Dodo
8. Who I'll Never Be
9. I Don't Need Brighter Days
10. Ain't Nobody
11. Your Name Here
12. If You Can Save Me Now
13. Something So
14. My Notes


Official Website | Official AbsolultePunk Profile | "Just For Show" Music Video
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 27
10:20 AM on 04/12/11
#2
JoshIsArealBoy
STOP LOOKING AT ME SWAN!!
Offline
User Info.
JoshIsArealBoy's Avatar
I wonder what inspired the fat kid arm album cover?
10:48 AM on 04/12/11
#3
SmeezyBeezy
DahBuhDeezy
Online
User Info.
SmeezyBeezy's Avatar
I wonder what inspired the fat kid arm album cover?
His kid maybe?
10:51 AM on 04/12/11
#4
Holly HoX!
*
Offline
User Info.
Holly HoX!'s Avatar
I'm afraid to listen to this album. Atmosphere and Minneapolis hip-hip for life, but anyone that has been fans of Atmosphere for ten years would agree that he isn't getting any better. That said, I'm glad Slug and Ant get the recognition they deserve nationwide. No one more deserving other than the Doomtree crew as far as MN talent is concerned.

EDIT: Pretty sure the album is titled "The Family Sign" because it's the first full length that all four have collaborated on - since the last double EP isn't technically a full studio LP.
10:53 AM on 04/12/11
#5
Holly HoX!
*
Offline
User Info.
Holly HoX!'s Avatar

I think his son's a bit older, Smeezy. By the by, saw Dom last week at the Entry...see that dude if he plays Cali soon!!
10:57 AM on 04/12/11
#6
Ian Walker
wes craven with x cravings.
Offline
User Info.
Ian Walker's Avatar
I wonder what inspired the fat kid arm album cover?


If the name of the album is any indication, much of the subject matter is about family, blood or otherwise.

I'm afraid to listen to this album. Atmosphere and Minneapolis hip-hip for life, but anyone that has been fans of Atmosphere for ten years would agree that he isn't getting any better. That said, I'm glad Slug and Ant get the recognition they deserve nationwide. No one more deserving other than the Doomtree crew as far as MN talent is concerned.

This is an unfortunate truth, if not a bit arguable. This is still a really solid release though, so check it out!
10:59 AM on 04/12/11
#7
crutchfield
Offline
User Info.
No Avatar Selected
I'm afraid to listen to this album. Atmosphere and Minneapolis hipo-hip for life, but anyone that has been fans of Atmosphere for ten years would agree that he isn't getting any better. That said, I'm glad Slug and Ant get the recognition they deserve nationwide. No one more deserving other than the Doomtree crew as far as MN talent is concerned.

Whaaat? You sir are a good guy. His storytelling, metaphors, content has all gotten better. Ive followed atmosphere since lucy ford. I saw him before glu came out. And ive seen his probobly 4x since. While i do miss seeing him perform in tiny bars (blind pig) i believe he has gotten better with almost every release. The music he GIVES away is better than most emcees music. He releases so many eps, collaborations etc.
The family sign is no exception. Its pleasing to the ears, it has thought provoking lyrics and stories mixed with humor and bravado and it flows pretty seemlessly (except bad bad daddy as the reviewer mentioned)
If theres one person im a total fanboy of...its slug.
11:00 AM on 04/12/11
#8
Holly HoX!
*
Offline
User Info.
Holly HoX!'s Avatar
If the name of the album is any indication, much of the subject matter is about family, blood or otherwise.



This is an unfortunate truth, if not a bit arguable. This is still a really solid release though, so check it out!

Oh yeah, I always do and I always make it to the shows...it's just how it is. Slug is one of the nicest dudes I've met. I'll always support his music.
11:05 AM on 04/12/11
#9
Holly HoX!
*
Offline
User Info.
Holly HoX!'s Avatar
Whaaat? You sir are a moron. His storytelling, metaphors, content has all gotten better. Ive followed atmosphere since lucy ford. I saw him before glu came out. And ive seen his probobly 4x since. While i do miss seeing him perform in tiny bars (blind pig) i believe he has gotten better with almost every release. The music he GIVES away is better than most emcees music. He releases so many eps, collaborations etc.

If theres one person im a total fanboy of...its slug.

No need for name calling here, bro. It seems like we are on the same page anyway. I loved Lemons and i'm not complaining about him getting bigger...i actually love it. I'm not saying his lyrical chops haven't gotten better either...the newer music just isn't for me. And your moron comment became mute after you called yrself a fanboy. We have been fans of his the same amount. Overcast anyone? Don't just namedrop if you have no idea what you are talking about. I've seen the guys a donzen times.
11:07 AM on 04/12/11
Holly HoX!
*
Offline
User Info.
Holly HoX!'s Avatar
And what the fuck is "glu?" And the "blind pig" for that matter.
11:18 AM on 04/12/11
inthemidst
Grace and Peace
Offline
User Info.
inthemidst's Avatar
And what the fuck is "glu?" And the "blind pig" for that matter.
I think "blind pig" is a small venue/bar or something.
11:21 AM on 04/12/11
Holly HoX!
*
Offline
User Info.
Holly HoX!'s Avatar
I think "blind pig" is a small venue/bar or something.

Figured. But where? It's not in Minneapolis...

Edit: looks like Michigan
11:28 AM on 04/12/11
John_Barnes
I'm not a self help book.
Offline
User Info.
John_Barnes's Avatar
Almost teared up while listening to "The Last To Say". Great song, great album. Also, "She's Enough" is really out of place compared to the rest of the album, but it makes for one heck of a single.
11:33 AM on 04/12/11
inthemidst
Grace and Peace
Offline
User Info.
inthemidst's Avatar
Figured. But where? It's not in Minneapolis...

Edit: looks like Michigan
Yeah, I believe so.
12:04 PM on 04/12/11
crutchfield
Offline
User Info.
No Avatar Selected
No need for name calling here, bro. It seems like we are on the same page anyway. I loved Lemons and i'm not complaining about him getting bigger...i actually love it. I'm not saying his lyrical chops haven't gotten better either...the newer music just isn't for me. And your moron comment became mute after you called yrself a fanboy. We have been fans of his the same amount. Overcast anyone? Don't just namedrop if you have no idea what you are talking about. I've seen the guys a donzen times.

Im sorry about calling you moron. Youre obviously not. Honestly. Glu is god loves ugly. The blind pig is a small bar in ann arbor that i used to see them perform at before they crossed over to a bigger audience. Again sorry for my childishness.
Options
More From This Author
Buy the Music

NEWS, MUSIC & MORE
Search News
Release Dates
Exclusives
Best New Music
Articles
CONNECT
Submit News
Forums
Contests
Mobile Version
AP.net Logos
HIDDEN TREASURES
AbsolutePunk Podcast
Free Music
Sports Forum
Technology Forum
Recommendations
INFORMATION
Advertising
Contact Us
Copyright Policy
Terms of Service
Privacy Policy
FOLLOW
Twitter | Facebook | RSS
PropertyOfZack
PunkNews.org
UnderTheGun
Chorus.fm