Atmosphere’s new album – Definitely not a lemon

Saturday, June 28th, 2008 | Reviews
Atmosphere's new album - Definitely not a lemon

There are few artists who gain my highest honour; the ‘buy before try’ scenario. Minneapolis based duo Atmosphere is one such example and their latest offering ‘When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold,’ easily returns my faith.

Since ‘You Can’t Imagine How Much Fun We’re Having,’ Slug and Ant have been consistently drip-feeding fans with a string of 5-song EP’s and the awesome ‘Strictly Leakage.’ Such releases have been hit and miss for me and it is great to have another full-length album that feels cohesive and obviously benefits from greater time spent on writing and production. If you are expecting the jump around beats of classics such as ‘Get Fly’ and ‘Pour Me Another’ beware, ‘Lemons’ moves into darker territory both lyrically and sonically. Ant’s flawless production has moved away from hooky grooves to a more acoustic sound with live instruments; flutes, piano and guitar, these compliment Slug’s sometimes preachy, but always poetic flow. That’s not to say the album doesn’t retain that top-down, cadillac-country feel, especially on tracks such as ‘You’ and ‘Can’t Break.’

It never fails to amaze me that Slug can deliver a poignant and I think, ultimately optimistic message (just look at the title), using such grimy subject matter as pimps, cigarettes and dry heaves, all layered above Ants swelling, hand-clapping beats. Sure he shows moments of despair, for example ‘The Skinny,’ about the hold cigarettes can have over someones life, but this is off-set by glimpses of hope such as my favourite track ‘Wild, Wild Horses,’ ‘go ahead and chase your dreams and your freedom, run run wild wild horses, you can’t tame these horses.’ Apparently god loves a trier. It is his realistic never afraid to call a dick a dick, attitude that tears Slug and his brand of introspective hip hop away from the diamond encrusted wannabes of mainstream hip hop, so much so they barely deserve to be categorised in the same genre. “All of us cut from the same damn cloth, some of us never cut the price tags off.”

Trying to find a balance

If you were in any doubt that Slug is a bonafide wordsmith, the deluxe edition comes with a 40 page childrens story written and illustrated by the pair, a nice touch for big kid fans like myself. Ultimately, this album is a step-up from previous releases and I’ll definitely part with my cash with the same reckless abandon next time around. Surprise, surprise, another lady loves Slug (and Ant.)

You can check out more from Atmosphere at:

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1 Comment to Atmosphere’s new album – Definitely not a lemon

[...] from their normal approach with a lot of live instrumentation used by Ant, but this is a good thing Very Good review, and  in all likelihood they’ll be touring with a band [...]

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