Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Ganglians - Still Living

The PR cycle that began in early May reached its zenith this bank holiday weekend with the release (finally!) of Still Living, the new album from Ganglians.

This hour-long collection of a dozen tracks average a shade under 4:40 in length each, making it good value for money on duration alone. But the purposely strained, mellow-yet-dramatic ensemble of music has more to offer than simply filling the time it takes to listen.

Evocative and distinctive, yet laced with influences that can be traced back through the decades, Still Living is described by Ganglians' Ryan Grubbs as "outsider music, but with a pop sensibility that brings everyone in". It is this collision of the niche and the mainstream that makes the collection particularly compelling.

Still Living - Ganglians
High Points

Still Living really picks up its pace around tracks 7 and 8, Things to Know and Good Times. Together, they dispel some of the melancholy of the earlier songs, accelerating the tempo just enough to keep the listener interested.

It's important to recognise, though, that this is distinctly downbeat music - don't expect Flight of the Bumblebee as a bonus track here. There are drum beats, and bass, but we are a long way from the land of techno.

As always, whether you like Still Living or not will depend very much on whether it's your cup of tea - if it is, though, there's a very good chance that you'll be please with what you here, as I found little to draw fault from throughout my hour's listening.

Preview opening track Drop The Act below:

The Verdict

Still Living adds to a Ganglians back-catalogue with its own clear merit. Fans of the group's earlier releases Ganglians and Monster Head Room should not be disappointed, while those who are new to the Ganglians sound could find things a little more challenging.

As described above, this is not the kind of music likely to sit alongside Katy Perry and Rihanna in the typical CD collection - and you might want to make sure you put it on the right iPod playlists to avoid a suddenly melancholy moment in the middle of your next bus journey.

But variety is the spice of life, and Ganglians are most definitely Still Living and comfortable in their artistic identity. Give them a try if you haven't already - you might just find a niche you didn't know you were lacking in your music collection.

Final Score: 80%
Still Living - Ganglians

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