“Ganglians” could be the name of a crusty punk group wreaking terror in a back alley; instead, the Sacramento-born outfit sound like they combed back their hair and zipped into khakis on their latest LP, Still Living. Picking up where they left off with the surf-freak sound of their debut album Monster Head Room and their self-titled EP’s “Never Mind,” Ganglians tightened their production and cleaned up their aesthetic. Such a refined sound is a natural progression for fuzzy bands with a bigger budget (like West Coast contemporaries Wavves and the U.K.’s Male Bonding); in this case, it led to Ganglians asking Dirty Projectors‘ Robby Moncrieff to produce their record. Opening with droopy vocals singing, “This is a sad, sad song for all you sad, sad people,” “Drop the Act” has an ambiguity that makes it difficult to discern if the sadness they’re singing about is real or light-hearted. But the tracks that follow reaffirm that they’re trying to be taken seriously. Musing on adult themes via melodic pop, Still Living would sit well on a shelf next to Surfer Girl.
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