Atmosphere – Family Sign review

Posted on 14 April 2011
By Matt Barden
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Back for their sixth studio album, Slug and Ant are joined for the first time by keyboardist Erik Anderson and guitarist Nate Collis, adding a new musical direction for the group.

The Family Sign sees Atmosphere’s charismatic frontman Slug, in his usual introspective and insightful mood.

After the death of former rapper and good friend, Michael Larsen (Eyedea), Slug has poured a lot of himself into the lyrics and has used the loss as a spring board into the album.

Spitting over simple yet effective beats, with a haze of guitar riffs thrown into the background, Slug focuses on family ties that exist outside the familiar family construct.

On Big Bad Daddy, a track about the wild and young fanbase that the group have accumulated over the years, the rapper approaching his 40s, ponders on the world that he helped create.

The album is dark over all, floating around subject matter like domestic abuse and dead beat fathers. Compared to their previous efforts (particularly 2008s brilliant When Life gives you Lemons) this album feels very un-Atmosphere.

Gone are the soul samples that have become Ants producing staple and Slug has fewer truly remarkable emceeing moments.

The saving grace however comes in the form of the chorus free Became. Slug rolls back the years and Ant spins it like he used to, proving that if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

The Family Sign will be released 25th April in the UK