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Ganglians’ affection for a sweet melody and wistful lyrical turn was apparent on their acclaimed debut set Monster Head Room and their collectable Captured Tracks 7” of 2009, ‘Blood on the Sand’ – but Still Living, predominantly produced by Robby Moncrieff (Dirty Projectors, Zach Hill), furthers the vision of Grubbs and company. Says the man himself: “It’s a double-LP for a reason – we wanted to try many different ideas while doing everything in real time, with no metronome and mainly our own instruments. There’s a whole bunch of things tossed in, with various styles going on.

But, brilliantly, the seams between stylistic shifts aren’t detectable – Ganglians have taken the experimental blueprints of this album’s predecessor and updated (and expanded) their designs. So, moods move from quiet introspection to boisterous merriment, chords stimulating the synapses while the toes can’t keep from twitching. Says Grubbs of the end results: “This is outsider music, but with a pop sensibility that brings everyone in.

He’s right to highlight the non-exclusivity of this fare – it might have been made with envelope-pushing intent, but little on Still Living will leave the listener truly perplexed; unless, of course, they choose to delve deep into the rabbit hole of Grubbs’ inspirations. It’s personal, intimate and romantic, with metaphor preferred over the matter-of-fact musing of some other bands riding loosely comparable rhythms. “It’s pretty honest music,” says Grubbs. “Honestly, everyone feels a great range of emotions, like awkwardness and self-doubt, and not wanting to have to be cool to be cool. And that’s what these songs are like.

The atmospheric intro of “Valiant Brave”, from Ganglians’ Monster Head Room, builds into a rousing ballad of jangling guitars and layered, wailing vocals that sound like an army of pixies shouting at a cactus after taking too much peyote.
Dazed & Confused
Monster Head Room is a contender for my album of the year.
Vice Magazine
Ganglians are wild men – they make music that gets fresh air all up in your teeth and gums.
Pitchfork
 
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