Still Living

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In the two years between their 2009 album Monster Head Room and Still Living, Sacramento's Ganglians signed to Lefse Records, leaving behind the dingy cobwebs of Woodsist’s roster and attempting to take their music into sunnier pastures. With a running time of just under an hour, the album stays true to the psychedelic flavor of their early tracks, but the group enlists Dirty Projectors producer Robby Moncrieff to beef up the music. Despite sounding more like a product of the studio than of the bedroom, Ganglians remain fundamentally themselves on Still Living -- they still have lo-fi merits, and are drenched in gallons of chamber reverb. However, the songs are more melodic and nuanced than any of their previous albums, and they discover many moods within their washed-out sound. Conceived as a double LP, the first six songs are traditional lo-fi pop -- in the style of Kurt Vile or Panda Bear -- and the second six are more adventurous, jumping around aimlessly from the strange and icy “Things to Know” and “The Toad” to the indie-style garage rock of “Good Times” and “Faster.” Ryan Grubbs has blossomed into a confident vocalist, and the other bandmembers (Kyle Hoover, Alex Sowles, and Adrian Comenzind) have made serious progress as well. From the performances, to the songwriting, to the production, Still Living is the group’s strongest, most multi-dimensional album.

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