Chicago-based sextet Post Animal bring ten tracks of heavily-inspired Tame Impala-esque psychedelic guitar rock with their first full-length album for Polyvinyl Records, When I Think Of You In A Castle. Although Post Animal have only been playing together since 2014, in the last three years they’ve released both an EP and a singles collection and have toured with notable contemporary garage rock/punk groups like Twin Peaks and Wavves.
The opening song on When I Think Of You In A Castle, “Everywhere All At Once”, finds Post Animal leading with their strengths. The track eases the listener in gently with a lovingly and deftly plucked acoustic guitar over a soft, natural-sounding rain just before gentle synths and a harpsichord enter. This comparatively short instrumental is about as balladic as the band gets, as the album’s next track, “Gelatin Mode”, has the group firing on all cylinders, utilizing a combination of heavy riffage and neo-psych moments, delivering a more accurate representation of the rest of the record’s overall tone.
Post Animal’s members share lead vocal duties throughout When I Think Of You In A Castle and there’s no strong case to be made for this decision. This isn’t a seventies folk rock supergroup where each band member’s voice is amazing and immediately recognizable. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Regardless of who’s singing, the similar-sounding vocals from track to track are often either too faint or too reverb-heavy, melting into the mix and making the lyrics indiscernible.
There aren’t many standout moments to be found on When I Think Of You In A Castle. The upbeat single, “Ralphie”, opens with a lead guitar line that sounds almost exactly like the solo in the last minute of Steely Dan’s “Reelin’ In the Years”, and the song does shift nicely in and out of a catchy chorus while a perpetually phase-shifting synth provides a decent base. Additionally, the dancefloor-ready “Special Moment” is a nice deviation and there is some undeniably excellent lead guitar and percussive work on the album’s final song, “Dirtpicker”.
Overall, When I Think Of You In A Castle is a derivative drag. In their attempts to capture the tone and lush dreaminess of bands like Tame Impala, Post Animal have disregarded important key elements that would otherwise provide them with a signature sound, namely uniquely distinguishable lead vocals and lyrics, and sharply original and memorable hooks.