It is late. I have been up writing against a deadline that has long passed for a German design magazine (and is unpaid, and thus, ok) and listening to an album I have been really anticipating with a grimace on my face… that being said, this album was nowhere near as awful as the last fiasco Daniel Higgs was involved in…

My first official writing gig was for Buzz, a free local weekly in Albany, New York at age 16. I did album reviews. I stopped doing album reviews at age 18 when I went off to college. Honestly, I had little-to-no musical experience aside from knowing that Barbra Streisand was weirdly arousing and that I somehow liked Chuck Mangione’s soundtrack work. I was a rank amateur and my lack of depth in understanding music was palpable. Since that time, it has been 20 years. I have listened to a lot of frigging music in that time. I hope that I have learned something.

Here, I pick up the gauntlet. Assume the mantle. Take up the task. Talk about something other than fucking graphic fucking design at 4AM on a Sunday with my trusty cat at my side (and above, rendered in film by Patrick Tsai).

Unrequited Atmosphere “The Family Sign” LP review:

Surprise, it’s a new Atmosphere album.

Frankly, I found the instrumental production of the latest Atmosphere offering “mature” in that it is sparse, but beyond that, ill-considered. Some songs are just utterly phoned-in: ‘epic’ Satriani-esque guitar run through some hybrid Rat/phaser digital plugin accompanied by the oompa-oompa of a mid-century Casio keyboard drum pad arrangement (pre-pressure sensitivity) and an unfiltered Juno strain over the top. Just pain, pure and simple…

There’s no doubt that the band mulled over the arrangements, perhaps to the detriment of the music itself. Couple that with the mopey nature of the album – not a single upbeat song here… that’s good and fine, but we find Señor Daley rapping about werewolves (complementing the fucking horrid video for the album whose star is a Golden Retriever: the world’s most boring pet) and… camping!

World record: Atmosphere has crafted the first rap song about camping. And they’ve somehow simultaneously jumped on the Twilight bandwagon, as well. Good job, dudes…

Daley’s usually-entertaining diatribes about daily life fall a bit flat this time. Apparently mundanity has truly become boring this time around, and instead they have to dish out diss tracks at folks whom have left their hometowns and overtly bad parents, the latter being accompanied by the absolute w-o-r-s-t refrain of Atmosphere’s career so far, delivered in a nasal refrain that is physically cringe-inducing. Curious at best… Sluggo citing WKRP’s Les Nessman in one song did some fair collateral damage, as well – I was familiar with the name, but bewildered. Who? Ah… apparently, mediocre network TV made a deeper impression in the Twin Cities than it did in upstate New York.

We tend to have Atmosphere on smash at our house (or at least Patrick and I do), and this album feels like a lackluster addition to their oeuvre. The preceding EP far outshines it, feeling more like an album than this assemblage of mediocre, uninspired half-songs.

Next time around, bangers please, gentlemen. Please accept this invitation to make an album for your twenty-year-younger-than-me target audience next time. I will most likely enjoy it infinitely more than this.

Also: half of the lead-in samples sound like the beginning of an 80s soap opera. And that’s no theremin. You are not fooling anyone. And what exactly is a “rap hug”?

That’s my word. And my word is bond. And my bond is righteous.

I will now return to writing about graphic design.