1 Like the Rest of Us
3 The Skinny
5 Shoulda Known
8 Your Glass House
12 Wild Wild Horses
13 Can't Break
14 The Waitress
15 In Her Music Box
Damn, it really is hard to know what to make of this album. At times during listening, i think its fantastic, moving, powerful, and then other times i think its contrived and trying to be too much all at once. Atmosphere are a hip-hop duo, something you might find hard to believe when listening to the majority of this album. They incorporate live instrumentation into all the tracks ranging from guitar, bass, piano, synth, drum atc.
The first track is the laid back, almost sombre 'Like the rest of us', over a quiet jazzy like piano, with Slug dwelling on the unhappiness, but trying to show theres light at the end of the tunnel. The album picks up the pace with 'Puppets' as Slug tells of a drug addicted ex rock star, over a rock-esque beat, that really picks up steam on the second verse.
When this album works, its fuckin amazing. 'Painting' with its beautiful dreamy beat is a personal favourite, as is the dark sounding 'Your Glasshouse', where Slug tells us of puking in a strangers toilet after a night out and not remembering a thing, que great lines and great story telling. 'Yesterday' is one of the real masterpieces on the album. Slug thinks he sees someone yesterday, and through the song we assume its a past lover and talks about what he would say to her. We are drawn in with the heartfelt apologies, the self realisation, the regret, but at the same time acceptance. Then in the last line we learn that he is talking about his father who has passed away. Add to that a fantastic piano beat, and you've easily got one of the best if not the best cuts on the album. 'The Waitress' and 'In Her Music Box' are another too great tracks, and judging on these few tracks, this album would be one of Atmosphere's best.
But, sometimes everything doesnt work as well. 'Shoulda Known', and 'Cant Break' contain VERY loud synths that ive a feeling wont be to everyones liking, but i think they'll just take time to grow on me. 'Wild Wild Horses' is good, but contains an awkward hook, and im just not feeling 'The Skinny', but i think it'll grow on me in time.
Theres a lot of variety musically on this album, which may be a blessing or a curse depending on who you talk to. Its very hard to see fans of hardcore hip-hop listening this, and during songs like 'Guarantees', with its heavy acoustic rock infulence, it may be easier to see fans of Nirvana bumping this rather than your average Onyx fan. One minute you've classical sounding pianos, next very havy synths, then lushious keyboards, to acoustuc guitars. This may be its saviour or its downfall.
I think its nearer its saviour. Nearly all the songs work very well, and if they dont its beacuse of one small element, e.g hook not the best, or synth being too loud on the hook, rather than the music on the whole track, or lacluster lyrics form Slug, the latter couldnt be further from the truth. Slug is once again on top form, and sounds really good over these different variety filled beats. 10/10 for him no doubt.
Oh, and i dunno if you've seen the delux edition, but it comes in hardback digipack, like a book, with lyrics printed, a childrens story and a dvd. 10/10 for packaging.
Overally, i do like this album. A lot. It maybe needs a little dusing in some areas for Atmospheres next effort, and i think ill need to give this more time to grow on me. The highs are really high, and there arnt many lows, but when they are, their not really that low, so dont affect the overal result much.