The Family Sign
Release Date: Apr 12, 11
Damn Slug, when did you find time to get all serious and talk about your family life n’ shit? Your tongue weaves tales painting pictures of daddy issues, domestic-violence, ill-tempers, love and loss; all while laced with producer Ant’s eerie beats. No doubt, The Family Sign drops duo Atmosphere’s past wit for something incredibly dry of humor. And that’s fine. Because there’s nothing funny those close to you growing tired and tossing you aside. Guided by Slug’s experienced storytelling and anchored by Ant’s production, The Family Sign takes listeners through a moody experience leaving listeners to think about who’s really close to you in your life.
The album opens with the fiddling keystrokes of a piano while Slug loosely explains the twisted trail of ups and downs. Think of The Family Sign as the time line Sean Daley’s (Slug) life follows to this date. It may not be all sprinkles and lollipops, but damn, Slug can paint the picture of this fucked up string of occurrences (see life) and still come out with a bit of silver lining. Slug’s straightforward storytelling may seem simple but that makes it all the more relatable. Hopefully, no one can latch onto every word on this album but there are definitely pieces that nearly everyone has experienced. The neglect found in “Just for Show,” the head-over-heals character from “She’s Enough,” or the awkward run-in’s with past friends from “Your Name Here”–who hasn’t experienced these things one time or another?
Slug’s storytelling is only exemplified further by Ant’s production. Sure there’s a bit of obscure reggae beats or crunchy guitar thrown about but Ant’s tracks do nothing but facilitate. The moods Ant evokes allow your own life path to insert them into Slug’s stories as they illustrate in your mind. They also keep steady with the emotions elicited when you get caught up in Slug’s story. Not to mention this is probably the most piano on any Atmosphere album ever–and that’s not a bad thing.
The Family Sign plays like a novel: there’s a beginning, rising action, climax, falling action and a resolution. While simple, it’s well told and it’s not hard to imagine that every spin might find yourself thinking of another past friend you cut ties with or something crazy stupid you did for a girl. Atmosphere extends a story worth listening to with The Family Sign. Also, a story that unravels so naturally for Ant and Slug. An entire album with a storyline in recent hip-hop? Go figure.