Hip-hop duo outfit Atmosphere return with their eleventh album ‘Fishing Blues’.
Eleven albums sounds like a lot, probably because it is. Of these eleven albums however only eight have been studio albums but that’s still four more than The Smiths ever made, so, impressive right? Although Atmosphere have never been awarded the NME title for greatest album of all time they have experienced overall appreciation and success within their own genre being, among other things, instigators of the indie rap label Rhymesayers.
Atmosphere’s two mainstays Slug and Ant have been making music together for over twenty years. Slug’s style has always been one that shares itself with much alternative rock in the way of raw emotionality and deep soul searching, being set apart from more ostentatious artists. Unfortunately this hasn’t seemed to hit the mark on ‘Fishing Blues’. This is not to say the album is entirely terrible, because it’s not, however tracks such as single release ‘Ringo’ leave you wondering if the pair are even trying? It feels frustrating more so than anything else that the entire album isn’t better than it is, sure it’s not god awful or unlistenable, but it’s not where it needs to be nor does it feel like it knows where it needs to be.
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Despite its shortcomings the album does boast an impressive list of collaborators, as if to celebrate the longevity of the pair’s joint career. Acts such as MF Doom and Aesop Rock appear on tracks ‘When the Lights Go Out’ and ‘Chasing New York’, respectively. ‘When the Lights Go Out’ features both Doom and Kool Keith with arguably one of the best back beats of the entire album this track allows Doom to show off his signature flow to impressive effect.
In a period of rappers like Drake and A$AP Rocky, Slug’s rhythm might feel like a old school throwback, a little 90’s even, but that adds a certain appeal. Unfortunately though for long-time fans this is not enough to make the whole album as exciting as it should be as its bland often awkward lyrics and low replay value make ‘Fishing Blues’ pretty lacklustre by comparison to Ant and Slug’s own back catalogue.
‘Fishing Blues’ is out now on Rhymesayers Entertainment.
This Atmosphere article was written by Jacob Atkins, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Zoe Anderson.