Ganglians

Monster Head Room

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By most reasonable standards, Ganglians' full-length debut, Monster Head Room, would qualify as lo-fi. Compared to their self-titled EP released just a few months earlier, though, Monster Head Room is a veritable pocket symphony. The Sacramento quartet's falsetto harmonies are no longer obscured by distortion, merely blurred, and float between semi-funky moments that recall the post- SMiLE Beach Boys. Like a more sprawl-conscious Olivia Tremor Control, Ganglians use delighted Brian Wilson tricks -- in both arrangement and fey/naïve demeanor -- to stake their claim firmly in a lineage of home-recording psychedelic popsters. They repeat the EP's two best songs, "Radically Inept Candy Girl" and "The Void," in new recordings. The former's discombobulated arrangement receives a radical unmuddling, the toy piano and odd breaks coming to the fore. "The Void" benefits from a slower tempo and some occasionally forced atmospherics, such as a choir of shouting voices. Throughout, Monster Head Room strives for anthemic moments. On "To June," the band drops some willfully naïve moon/June/spoon rhymes, but the melody is winning enough that it doesn't matter. That's not always the case, and sometimes, like on "100 Years," the riffage might actually be better served by lower fidelity.

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