Album – The Family Sign
Artist – Atmosphere
Purchased From – Fifth Element
Atmosphere, through good and bad, have always been one of my favorite rap groups. It was strange when they developed such a huge following to the point where every scene of people was listening to them. Especially after being the darling of the indie rap scene for so long. Through all the years of their evolution I think they might have now reached to where the standard definition of rap no longer fits them. Gone are break beats, battle raps, and any form of conventional production. All of these time tested rap traditions have given way to group instrumentation, brash – isolating production and conceptual rhymes. Not that this is Slug’s first foray into the story telling or conceptual rhymes but this record is almost completely that style of rhyme. This (though I’m not sure if I’d be satisfied if the change was permanent) is one of their best…..this is another example of raps evolution.
Now I got to make one clear point when talking about this album and that’s this is the only record where I hear flaws in Slugs lyrics. There are very few examples of bad rhymes on here but when you hear them, they are jarring. There are also some really bad lyrical transitions and tonal connections, things that Slug has always been brilliant at. Overall he rips it though, but those things are noticeable on a couple of tracks. That said, the flow and production/instrumentation of this record is some of the best stuff Atmosphere has ever done. Lots of acoustic and lead guitar work and plenty of piano and bass too. An emotional wreck of an album when the whole thing is finished and it’s washed over you due to it’s immensely personal feel. Musically this album feels super connected and cohesive. For sure their best effort on that level.
Now on to the packaging. Clear vinyl….sounds like shit as with most of the clear I’ve heard lately. The sleeve is a frame that holds whatever silver embossed inserts you choose. This is the pre-order version so it is signed by Slug. Came with a digital download so that’s as should be. I really wish the vinyl sounded better. Hopefully after a cleaning and a few plays it may start to.