Album Reviews: Atlantis: Hymns for Disco by k-os"I'm not one to repeat myself," k-os sings on the chorus of "Flypaper," from his third album, Atlantis: Hymns for Disco. It's an odd choice of lyric, considering that the track is nearly identical to "Crabbuckit," from his last album, 2004's sublime Joyful Rebellion. And, unfortunately, it's not the only moment here when Canada's favorite rapper sounds like he's running low on fresh ideas.
It's hard to criticize an artist like k-os for retracing his steps when his mix of old-school hip-hop, pop, rock, and soul remains so unique—in recent memory, only OutKast and Gnarls Barkley have mixed genres this effortlessly. Still, you can't help but notice how much "Valhalla" sounds like k-os' last Sam Roberts collaboration, "Dirty Water," or how much "Mirror in the Sky" sounds like "Crucial." His sound is still one of a kind, but his songwriting technique is wearing thin.
There are still flashes of brilliance, especially "Sunday Morning" with its rousing, pep-rally vibe, and "Black Ice (Hymn for Disco)," one of several tracks on the album marred only by a very perfunctory rap. More and more, k-os seems less interested in rapping than in being a pop star—which, in Canada, he already is. But it will take a stronger set of songs than this for him to reach pop star status outside his home country.
- Andy Hermann