Atmosphere
The Family Sign


3.0
good

Review

by John weathered old reviewer Hanson STAFF
April 11th, 2011 | 186 replies | 24,476 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The Family Sign is essentially the audible recording of the element of Family, in all of its beauty and rage, and one could not ask for anything more.

Three years removed from their breakout hit When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That *** Gold, Atmosphere have released their first true disappointment, The Family Sign. A pseudo-concept record with most of the narratives revolving around familial issues and relationships, The Family Sign can at times be poignant and dare I say it (and despite the best efforts of Slug’s voice) beautiful. Then again, at times you’ll be wondering why on earth Sluggo would drop that rhyme, or how the album ends up running circles around itself.

Musically, Atmosphere are still progressing smoothly towards the realm of pop. Ant has driven the band in a logical direction, with more live instruments being used again, leading to a clean open environment for the songs to develop. It's all nicely constructed and you’re never left feeling like a song wasn’t fully fleshed out. However, too much consistency in the sound of the songs leaves the album feeling like a blur, and besides the first three songs, the rest of the album meshes together sonically in a way that its difficult to decipher one song from one another.

Slug fares similarly: he is at the top of his game when it comes to his flow, sounding as smooth and pronounced as ever. The flip side of the coin is that all the cornball lyrics we’re used to are blown out of proportion; with a subject as touchy as family and love, its difficult to strike a good balance between the emotional and the plain ridiculous, and Slug straddles the latter far too often. “The Last to Say”, deals with the heady subject of domestic abuse, and his performance here is out of the park. It’s restrained but still brutally honest, and the vivid language of the verses is contrasted by the succinct and simple chorus of “let me be the last to say/it will be okay”. Then again, there are tracks like “Bad Bad Daddy” where Slug overdoes child neglecting with lines like “I gave em all some money and put grub in their tummies/now Im gonna go get bombed and don’t tell your mom” and “I’m a bad bad daddy.”

I see, Atmosphere. I see.

The songs all fall in between the realms of being impacting or downright stupid. Unfortunately, the latter is true way more often than the former, and The Family Sign’s downfall is that its concept just doesn’t lend itself to fifty minutes of explanation and execution. It’s still a decent addition to Atmosphere’s discography, but if you’re expecting something on the level of GodLovesUgly or When Life Gives You Lemons…, you may want to look elsewhere first.



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user ratings (154)
Chart.
3
good
other reviews of this album
Benjamino Jackanory (2.5)
A surprisingly lukewarm effort from the remarkably consistent duo...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
April 11th 2011



16081 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

rap music is for white people

Gyromania
April 11th 2011



15199 Comments


Holy shit, a John Hanson review!!! Seriously depressed to see that low rating though =[

Jash
April 11th 2011



4244 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Awesome review man. If Bad Bad Daddy wasn't on this album it would be much better, that song brings the album down a lot

cvlts
April 11th 2011



8954 Comments


will probably love this regardless...

Romulus
April 11th 2011



8411 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

yeah nice review, i pretty much agree completely except even slug's flow is bothering me here

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
April 11th 2011



16081 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Jash, there are like 3 or 4 songs that are outright bad imo. She's Enough, I Don't Need Brighter Days
(which succombs to the failing of being too pretentious for its own good), and Who I'll Never Be which
is just too gushy. But I mean, atmosphere fanboys wont care as much as a casual fan i suppose

of course flipside, Became and My Notes are really good

klap
Staff Reviewer
April 11th 2011



10258 Comments


what the fuck john stop trying to fool people you're still on staff

Digging: The Bilinda Butchers - Heaven

Inveigh
April 11th 2011



24798 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I was going to review this, but you said pretty much most of what I planned on saying anyways.

Slug has sounded monotonous and bored for like 4 years now -- going back to Strictly Leakage. I thought he was even pretty bad on Lemons, minus a few great songs like Yesterday and Skinny Pimp.

In other words, I think this is worse than Lemons, but not by a lot.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
April 11th 2011



16081 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

bro im so staff they should change my name to staffatar

Counterfeit
April 11th 2011



17819 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

but if you’re expecting something on the level of GodLovesUgly or When Life Gives You Lemons…


i would definitely say a different album than lemons, but plenty of people love it so i can see why you'd use it.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
April 11th 2011



16081 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I was just using Lemons as a quality benchmark as that is "the" atmosphere album.

and inveigh, lemons is a solid 4 to me, whereas this is like a 3.1 to me. Its not the biggest dropoff for me either, but eh

Inveigh
April 11th 2011



24798 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

ah, Lemons is more like a solid 3 for me, whereas this is a borderline 2.5

but hey now HEY NOW let's not get carried away calling Lemons "the" Atmosphere album -- that would be God Loves Ugly, sir.

Counterfeit
April 11th 2011



17819 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

always

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
April 11th 2011



16081 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I like GodLovesUgly more, but i dont think the general consensus is that unfortunately

ConsiderPhlebas
April 11th 2011



6157 Comments


Don't think I'll bother with this. Didn't even like Lemons.

Counterfeit
April 11th 2011



17819 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I still want a Blake review for GLU.

Inveigh
April 11th 2011



24798 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I guess I tend to agree if you're referring to Sputnik -- Lemons definitely seems to be the most popular/known Atmosphere album on this site

but in general, at least in my experiences before joining Sputnik, Lemons just wasn't all that highly regarded compared to GLU, Overcast, Seven's Travels etc.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
April 11th 2011



16081 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Its easily their most popular in general, speaking of the REAL WORLD. also pretty sure looking at rym (the most "accurate" id say overview of an album on the internet), it is rated the same but with more ratings.


Counterfeit
April 11th 2011



17819 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah, most people I know would probably say Lemons is their best too.

Inveigh
April 11th 2011



24798 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

yeah is seems to be the most popular on hiphopdx too (lol hiphopdx)

so maybe i'm just cooler than the real world



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