Atmosphere
The Family Sign


3.0
good

Review

by John weathered old reviewer Hanson EMERITUS
April 11th, 2011 | 169 replies


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 (177)
Chart.
3.1
good
other reviews of this album
Benjamino Jackanory (2.5)
A surprisingly lukewarm effort from the remarkably consistent duo...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Gyromania
April 11th 2011


20640 Comments


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

Jash
April 11th 2011


4245 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


9299 Comments


will probably love this regardless...

Romulus
April 11th 2011


8479 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

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

klap
Staff Reviewer
April 11th 2011


11300 Comments


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

Inveigh
April 11th 2011


25991 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.

Counterfeit
April 11th 2011


17837 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.

Inveigh
April 11th 2011


25991 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


17837 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

always

ConsiderPhlebas
April 11th 2011


6157 Comments


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

Counterfeit
April 11th 2011


17837 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I still want a Blake review for GLU.

Inveigh
April 11th 2011


25991 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.

Counterfeit
April 11th 2011


17837 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

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

Inveigh
April 11th 2011


25991 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

Inveigh
April 11th 2011


25991 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

also, sorta forgot to mention it, but this is a really good review



and feit maybe I'll do GLU instead of reviewing this since Mr. Hanson covered it already

Urinetrouble
April 11th 2011


5771 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

^nah inveigh, Lemons is just thier most listenable album by far



also, these fucks sound like they've been listening to folk-blues Everlast way too much

Counterfeit
April 11th 2011


17837 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

nah man, cool people dont have to think about the music they listen to, its all just spelled out





edit: you really should man, i can totally see an epic review from you for that, especially after just

that little tidbit you gave me on what you discovered about "Song About a Friend."

kingsoby1
Emeritus
April 11th 2011


4969 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

inveigh, hiphop has gotten more popular overall since atmosphere was underground. so lemons definitely is their most "popular" record, although it may not be their best.



nice review hanson

robertsona
Emeritus
April 11th 2011


15266 Comments


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0-lkl9TzsU&feature=related

kingsoby1
Emeritus
April 11th 2011


4969 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

loolol



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