ALBUM REVIEW: Ganglians – Still Living

ganglians still living

Written for DIY

“Torpid” is probably the best word to describe the sound of this record. Lovely word, torpid. “Mentally or physically inactive; lethargic: “we sat around in a torpid state”.” Yep, that’s pretty much how the third album by Ganglians sounds. The songs, and by extension, the band itself, don’t sound like they’re going anywhere fast, and don’t seem to be in any hurry to change that. Although that does make it seem at odds with the album’s title: Still Living.

The sound in question is similar to the likes of fellow West Coast acts like Best Coast; except it heads even deeper into that genre of stoner-paced indie rock, as if Bethany Cosentino and her laid-back-to-the-point-of-being-stationary ilk plunged into Pacific Ocean, resulting in distant-sounding vocals and echoey, reverb-soaked guitars, performed in slow-motion.

Well, perhaps the whole album isn’t totally torpid. A couple of tracks – specifically opener “Drop The Act” – traipse along at a much welcome faster click, but remain so bogged down in reverb it’s still like trudging through a musical swamp.

There are other occasions where the group manage to successfully switch gears – most notably on closing track “My House”, which sounds more like Super Furry Animals’ own blend of gonzo-folk, and “Things to Know”, which marries a similar rootsy-country sound to a proper rock stomp, recalling My Morning Jacket – which is light relief sandwiched between aimless songs which push the six minute mark (on a album pushing an hour): guitar lines and melodies searching desperately through the murk for a song.

For the most part, Still Living is a long journey which creeps along at a frustrating pace with, admittedly, some marginally more exciting turns; but, maybe not enough to make you wish to go with them again. Ganglians are cruising at a third and drifting worryingly into the middle of the road.

4/10

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