The Minneapolis duo\"s surprise hit album finds them less narcissistically emo than on ahead efforts; fairly than himself, cheese explores a procession of rust-belt standbys-- late-shift waitress, warehouse worker, deadbeat dad, homeless man, Tom Waits-- right out of Studs Terkel.

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Drug seeks is bad, but drama addiction might be worse. That is the lesson of \"Shoulda Known\", Atmosphere\"s salvo at the stock character, the enabler. Taken native Minneapolis duo\"s 5th studio album, when Life offers You Lemons, You paint That Shit Gold, the song is much more dramatic monologue than soliloquy-- one of those rare moments once Slug isn\"t plumbing the depth of his favorite subject, Slug. (Watching the video clip for \"Shoulda Known\", you might gather that Slug\"s new subject is soon-to-be-rescued American Apparel models.) also the album\"s title-- judged against their college-rap standards Overcast and Lucy Ford-- ideas that this outing might be less, well, narcissistically emo. Might Atmosphere\"s sad-clown era really be over?

Slug\"s lyrics, it transforms out, room refreshingly mundane. As soon as Life gives You Lemons come off no so lot as a memoir the a bohemian artist, however as an old liberal\"s debut short-story collection. The isn\"t together dull as it sounds. The enabler is one of many resolutely unglamorous numbers here, joining a procession that rust-belt standbys-- late-shift waitress, warehouse worker, deadbeat dad, homeless man, Tom Waits-- straight out the Studs Terkel. It\"s a noble idea, however it doesn\"t fairly suit Slug\"s talents, which deserve to veer, in common backpacker fashion, toward the didactic and also sentimental. Even so, the is a welcome leap for the MC to action out of his stormy inner life and into the pair of shoes of unsung-- in ~ least, unrapped-- working-class men and also women.

Producer Ant isn\"t retracing old routes either-- though he finds more success 보다 his partner. He sets \"Shoulda Known\", because that instance, above synthetic handclaps and a glum, coldly fuzzed base that, together, seem prefer the embryo that a Justin Timberlake track, before the star\"s producers add the de rigueur layers and also velocity. It\"s a much cry indigenous the humbly retro collage that samples the grounded Ant\"s signature sound in the past-- and it works. In a marital relationship of live instrumentation and vintage analog synths, Ant finds a new means to build collection pieces because that Slug\"s tortured narratives. Take it the soulfully cheesy, ersatz-Gnarls Barkley \"You\", for instance. Sticking to the second-person perspective, and also unburdened by the gnawed-to-oblivion themes of medicine abuse, \"You\" might have to be a solid lead single. Anyone knows around the needle and also the damages done; the question forgotten by too numerous songwriters, faithfully remembered here, is just how ordinary folks endure the day and make ends meet. Follow me the exact same lines, at the heart of \"Dreamer\" and also \"Guarantees\" are families trying to acquire by in a broken, dead-end economy.

Obviously the trials of parenthood, not exactly a staple on DJ playlists, loom large in Slug\"s visions of 9-to-5 life. Lyrically, like the songs in between, those that bookend when Life provides You Lemons space adventurous precisely since they\"re not adventurous, no spectacular, not sensational. \"Like the rest of Us\" introduces the album through a sleepy melody from a child\"s music box. The song proceeds with a loop the smoky-nightclub pianos, a plaintive backdrop because that Slug\"s smooth whispers around mothers-to-be and also casual cocaine users. Yet a brighter, much faster music box gives the album\"s closer, \"In she Music Box\", a vibe that is wrier and angrier, perfect because that a song around the R-rated nihilism streaming the end of parents\" vehicle radios. The thread that runs from the an initial song to the last is a warm sympathy because that working-class heroes and antiheroes-- particularly the people trying progressive kids.

More energy and less uniformly drab scenery can have retained these well-intentioned story from blurring right into each other. One the stands personally is the mainstream-aimed \"Guarantees\", i m sorry treads dangerously close come mall-core. Too often the duo\"s slow, spartan method just assures the songs like \"Your Glasshouse\" and \"The Skinny\" never ever leave the ground. And also the middling tempos are only partly to blame. \"Wild Wild Horses\" leans ~ above a an allegory that, let\"s face it, will never be pried from the roll Stones\" Sticky Fingers.

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That said, once Life offers You lemon still help lift setting further out of indie-rap territory. The shaggy-dog narratives of ordinary human being buffeted by day-to-day tragedies are still rare external the genre, despite rap\"s beginnings in specifically that hue that storytelling. So even when Slug gives in come his inside corniness, we let him turn off the hook. Granted, the production makes the naturalism pill easier to swallow. Open-minded fans will thank Ant, who piano-driven functions (\"Yesterday\", the opening two tracks) and also darkly nice \"Painting\" reveal a mind maintaining up through his partner\"s, amplifying and deepening and, in his phrase, Quincy-Jonesing the record\"s vistas of blue-collar melancholia.