By: Hope Ankney
After a few years throwing out hazy psychedelic EPs and singles that sounded as if they’d had more than just these small projects under their belts, Chicago neo-psych band Post Animal have finally released their highly anticipated LP titled When I Think of You in A Castle, and its content was well worth the wait. Like in records prior, Post Animal still hold onto that ability to create a nostalgic atmosphere of the past for their listener all while experimenting with new energies that will pave the way for the future of modern psychedelic rock.
The debut album is a time-traveling vessel as one finds themselves floating to different eras throughout their listen. With influences of 60’s psychedelic, 70’s garage-rock, and 80’s new wave drenching the record, Post Animal have made a name for themselves in their corner of the music scene, rising higher than the comparisons to Tame Impala they had been measured up to previously.
But, the group-defining When I Think of You in A Castle almost didn’t come to fruition. Drummer, Wesley, talked of the recording process of this album during an uncertain time for them as a band. In a press statement, he explained that, “Before this album, we weren’t sure what the future of the band was going to look like. I was considering moving to Los Angeles and guitarist Joe Keery was off filming Stranger Things. We didn’t know where we were all going but we knew we wanted to make an album with all of us in the same room.” That drive and determination that revolved around the creation process of their first full-length added to the slick and striking final product that was made between a band of brothers that solidified the unit.
The record opens with, “Everything All At Once” that feels like one is wandering through a haze-like dream. Accompanying this environment is a whimsical instrumental that pulls from takes of rain, synthesizers, keys, and a simple acoustic guitar. It’s an entrancing track that matches the title of the record all while being an appropriate opener.
The following three tracks feature the lead singles of the album:
“Gelatin Mode” highlights heavier and sludgier sounds that touches on some sonic territories mixed with shredding guitar riffs and interchangeable vocals between guitarist Keery and bassist Dalton Allison that sing about opening their minds and expanding their consciousness.
“Tire Eyes” focuses on more classic rock influences while still implementing funky undertones and a warbling chant near the end that will be a fun addition to a live performance.
“Ralphie” poses as a lively and incredibly catchy track that comes as an energizing power-source to the album. Keery and Allison trade vocals quite prominently here with big pay-off as their voices are complimentary to one another, allowing a track with more down-trotted lyrics to sound like a spirited single.
When I Think of You in A Castle progresses promoting vocals of every member and deeper lyrical content as they head into heavier territory. “Heart Made of Metal,” a new wave track, symbolizes life as a person named Lorelei and focuses on convincing oneself to not fear change as Castle proves to be predominantly instrumental, allowing the record’s break before plunging into the latter half.
My personal favorites are “One Thing” and “Victory Lap: Danger Zone.” “One Thing” teeters on the more mellow side, offering analog, warmth, and vocals that aren’t necessarily in the forefront- constructing a story about coming to terms with something you feel you can’t escape. While “Victory Lap: Danger Zone,” the unruliest track, follows a conflict in one’s mind until it hits the breaking point. The calming end represents the coming down of that rage and partial resolution it provides.
Throughout When I Think of You in A Castle, there’s enough push and pull that keeps the listener paddling for more. Its acknowledgement of the psychedelic genre but jostling it forward with more poppy hooks, heartland rock, and glam metal undertones is what sets this debut record apart from the rest. The continuous forward-thinking and modern dip into influential genres will keep this Chicago-loved band, Post Animal, gunning for the top. If able, catch their set at Shaky Knees in Atlanta, GA on May 6th.