Not quite punk, not quite post-punk, not quite alt. rock, but always indie, and very Chicago. Such describes Ganser, a quartet with a reputation for a sardonic, almost maniacal musical style, compounded by an energetic live presence. True to the band’s nerve-wracking sound, Ganser’s latest album is riddled with anxiety and tension, but what is perhaps most interesting about Just Look At That Sky is in how the band expresses its lyrical themes – the contradiction of growth and improvement proving fruitless; the production is a little more slick, the performance as tight as the band ever has been… by all rights, Just Look At That Sky is the best Ganser has ever sounded on record. And yet, it’s not a dramatic departure from what we’ve heard from past outings like Odd Talk or You Must Be New Here. In fact, the argument could be made that Ganser has not progressed at all, and in all likelihood, the musicians themselves would be the first to support this. But then again, maybe not? Does it really matter? As stated, this album is the best the band has yet sounded, with Alicia Gaines and Nadia Garofalo trading off vocal duties like the yin and yang of a fractured state of mind – at once calm and manic, striving for serenity yet finding it in the embrace of chaos. Compounded by Brian Cundiff’s tight precision on the drums, Gaines’ gritty bass grooves, Garofalo’s atmospheric touches on the keyboards, and Charlie Landsman’s shrill and grating guitar riffs evoking the sound of early Killing Joke, each track on the album runs a gamut of conflicting emotions that are sure to confound as much as enthrall the listener. There are the psychedelic swirls and strident rhythms of “Told You So,” with the repetitions of “I’ll wake up tomorrow all right,” and the deceptively inviting and danceable “Emergency Equipment and Exits,” to the guttural yet harmonious, noisy yet melodious “Self Service” reminiscent of the off-kilter and slightly unhinged no wave of Nina Hagen, the unsettling spoken word of Sean Gunderson set to the dreamy guitars and cloudy ambience of “[NO YES],” and the galloping drums, martial and anthemic horn accompaniments, and bluesy vocals of the closing “Bags For Life.” Suffice to say, Ganser pushes all the buttons – right or wrong – on Just Look At That Sky to remind the listener of every awkward and anxious moment of trepidation and uncertainty. It’s disquieting for sure, but… you just might get over it enough to appreciate Ganser performing at the top of their game.