Hip-hop duo Atmosphere were busy in 2016, having dropped the singles "Salma Hayek," "Fireflies" with Grieves, and "Trying to Fly" featuring Eric Mayson, along with the Macklemore-ish sounding "Ringo," the only one of the above to land on this 2016 LP. Like their previous album, 2014's Southsiders, Fishing Blues is a heavily Minneapolis-influenced effort where home, heritage, and youthful dreams come into play. Highlight "No Biggie" bounces about with the exuberance of "Stepped off the patio with the courage to fly" plus "I'm tryin' to cherish life, you tryin' to stare on ice," while "Everything" is a laid-back gratitude ceremony written from the perspective of an artist who's seen the world and now come back home. When guests like the Grouch ("Fishing Blues") and Aesop Rock ("Chasing New York") drop in, they are tuned to the album's overall uplift along with member/producer Ant's bright funk constructions, but it is DOOM and Kool Keith who get member/rapper Slug to bend in a dark, druggy direction on the welcome divergence dubbed "When the Lights Go Out." Strange how a little pride, nostalgia, and thankfulness make Slug and Ant sound a heck of a lot like Macklemore and Lewis, but Fishing Blues isn't so much an indie version of The Heist as it is a more satisfied and slow version of Southsiders. Check that one first, then come back here for a relaxed alternative.
AllMusic Review by David Jeffries