Atmosphere – When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold

April 26, 2008

“You’re probably addicted to all kinds of escape…”

Moody hip-hop from Minneapolis based Atmosphere (Slug doing the rhymes, Ant serving as both DJ and producer) will probably be too serious minded and deliberately paced for listeners looking for party music, but When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold is otherwise an intelligent and piercing look at addiction of different kinds, adult and family life disappointments, and parental doubt, set to mostly live instrumentation and classic funk and neo-soul inspired beats. Most of the songs are streamlined, rarely more than three or four minutes, eschewing any excess or self-indulgent touches. It’s the sort of album you’ll need to pay some attention to, and if the material feels frequently downbeat, there’s also a general feeling that often the real triumph in life is to the ability and strength face things honestly and make the best of what we have, clear from the title, and that in order to carry on under bleak circumstances, we are often required to pick ourselves up and make our own hope and our own happiness. That such heavyweight stuff can sound this cool is an achievement in itself. Standout cuts: “Shoulda Known,” “You,” “Guarantees” and “Can’t Break.”


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