Ganglians – Still Living
While pleasant, there was a perceptible cooling in attitudes towards Fleet Foxes when Helplessness Blues appeared earlier this year: the traits that first brought them acclaim just seemed too polite to warrant the same enthusiasm a second time. Still Living is less hotly anticipated, but Ganglians win the newly-invented prize for ‘best second album by bearded outdoorsy Americans with a hankering for harmonies’ hands down by keeping the edges rough, even if its unwieldy length makes it dificult to take in with a single sitting.
While the extended duration deadens their impact a mite, individual tracks have a grace and lightness of touch: Jungle’s bouncy Beach Boys gait and Sleep’s electronic flourishes stand out, as does atmospheric lynchpin Bradley, which portions the album in two. Its twelve tracks are more variations on a theme than divergent experiments, but they’ve got a charm that, appropriately enough, gets under the skin. [Chris Buckle]