The first track of adventurous Minneapolis Hip Hop duo Atmosphere's new album, The Family Sign, opens with the muted, plaintive strains of a piano as frontdude Slug whispers something about his family tree in the background. It's a telling opening salvo, an immediate sign that 2008's When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold was no one-time shift in approach. If anything, the duo — which also includes producer/sonic sculptor Ant — moves even farther away from the sample-heavy dynamic of its earlier records in favor of stripped-down arrangements driven by piano, guitar and drums.
“She's Enough” is a funked-up, organ-driven banger marked by Slug's deft delivery and simple, kinda-endearing words: “If she want it/I'm gonna give it up/If she running low/I'm gonna fill her cup/If it spill, chill, Imma clean it up/I'll be right here cause she's enough.” Perhaps the biggest departure is “Something So,” an intimate slow jam in which Slug sings, “They tell me that I'm not qualified/To lend my voice to something so beautiful.” Don't listen, dude. Atmosphere's “The Family Vacation Tour” stops at Bogart's Thursday with Columbus' Blueprint, Evidence, DJ Babu and Prof.
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