That's how I was reintroduced to Atmosphere for the first time since Lucy Ford. Produced as a holdover double EP, To All My Friends, Blood Makes The Blade Holy, Sean Daley (Slug) paints up some powerful narratives and confessional messages in his latest outing as an unlikely rapper from Minnesota.
Alternative indie hip hop better presents the package than hip hop or rap as most people know the talented duo (producer Anthony Davis, Ant) who understand the complexities of being an average man. Its also the kind of EP that will find them new fans and alienate some longtime listeners. That means something to him, by the way.
"I've got 80,000 bosses around the world and I want to make those bosses happy," Slug told Ben Mullin in a phone interview. "But I also want to challenge them with compelling art, and I want to challenge myself."
The standout songs are the ones with the fullest sound, beginning with Freefallin.’ The alternative rock-like vibe creates a captivating song with a hook that sticks in your head long after the last note closes it out. I couldn't find a live vid, but this one with tour dates does nicely.
Until the Nipples Gone is all about guitars, with an almost nu-metal feel on the front end. It's an unconventional blend that gives the music some time to drive the song in between bursts of storytelling. It's genuine.
The other two standouts are The Major Leagues and the title track To All My Friends. The other stories aren't to be dismissed, especially if you love hip hop and especially for anyone who feels Freefallin’ is too preachy to stay on a play list.
Sometimes it's what we want. Sometimes it's what we need. Slug would know. Not everyone who became entranced with hip-hop, graffiti, and breakdancing finds the right path like he did. The songs still rock and the special guest lineup for the tour promises to make for a great show.
Besides, that is not the point. Had the material been released as two EPs, it would be easier to see the entire album is about unhealthy relationships on one and the need to find positive ones on the other.
Atmosphere's To All My Friends Sticks With A 6.8 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.
To All My Friends, Blood Makes The Blade Holy is available on iTunes. Atmosphere's new EP is also on Amazon.
It will be interesting to see what will become of the seven-year book project by photographer Dan Monick that inspired the album. It is due out in late October.