If you observe K-Os' logo of the tree, you would notice that his logo has "evolved" on each album. You can also say the same thing about his sound.
First on "Exit", the logo was an autumn tree stripped of its leaves, which can explain the reliance on raw sounds such as the acoustic guitar and tabla on the album. Next, the tree became full of life with a bird perched ready for take off on the cover of "Joyful Rebellion" further showing that K-Os wasn't afraid to integrate other musical genres like blues and rock into his music. And now with "Atlantis", the bird, or rather K-Os, has fully spread his wings ready to pursue the international success he so utterly deserves.
"Atlantis" is the record "Joyful Rebellion" should have been from the get-go. There were still remnants of the hip-hop disciple leftover from the days of "Exit" that made "Joyful Rebellion" seem, at times, rather not joyful at all (Depending on what side of the hip-hop fence you're on, this is either a good or bad thing). However, you can say without question that JR was a necessary precursor to Atlantis; he has rid himself of the Jiggy Critic Within and has concentrated on just making music that captivates you sonically.
The record starts with "ELEctrik HeaT - the seekwiLL", your standard hip-hop track, but after that it's a musical free-for-all.
"the Rain" has at its roots the piano and strings from James Brown's "It's A Man's Man's Man's World" intercut with bluesy guitar riffs and reggae horns, while talking about how people stick around for the good times and how they leave when the Rain comes.
"flyPaper" starts with a fluttering trumpet intro reminiscent of Al Hirt's "Green Hornet" theme, and can essentially be labelled Crabbuckit Pt. 2 with its familiar handclaps and bass line, but K-Os doesn't seem to mind the pop stigmata. Meanwhile, "Equilizer" is Brereton's own interpretation of "Jailhouse Rock" with a twist, as he acknowledges how he is "changing the plot / hip-hop with me or not" and, thus walking the fine line between hip-hop and popular music.
This is a good break between the musical introspection and a couple of the more, lyrically-accessible tracks such as "Sunday Morning" -- a cut that screams of 80s influences -- and "Mirror In The Sky". The mixbag returns with "Born To Run" -- a track full of musical, kinetic energy whose backing drums actually remind you of a person running -- and "Valhatta", an oft-kilter melody which features fellow Canadians Sam Roberts and Broken Social Scene member Kevin Drew.
B-boys and girls will be pleased with "Black Ice Hymns For Disco", which is not a disco track in the Gloria Gaynor sense, but more of a lo-fi, atmospheric break-beat disco number.
Album closer "ballad of Noah" sounds like something Bob Dylan would do if he ever did a hip-hop track with its acoustic guitar and harmonica accompaniment. Hip-hop heads should rejoice at the outro of "ballad of Noah" -- a stripped cut with no chorus; a straight narrative about an odd afternoon constitutional explaining the album's direction and hip-hop among other things.
Overall, "Atlantis" makes for an adventurous listen; it has tremendous crossover potential. The "Hymns For Disco" subtitle implies a return to a more, fun-loving, spirited era and that is exactly where Kheaven Brereton went to, musically, for inspiration on the record. Currently, there are only a select number of artists that are pushing the boundaries of music -- OutKast and Beck -- to name but a few. K-Os is in this group and he's not afraid to flaunt his musical eclecticism at you. As he has just switched labels from Astralwerks to Virgin/EMI, expect K-Os to receive even greater media attention and "Atlantis" to be K-Os' breakthrough on the international stage.