On April 20, 2018, Chicago band Post Animal released their sophomore album, “When I Think Of You In A Castle.” The six-piece group, including Joe Keery from the famed show “Stranger Things,” all equally contributed to the album’s composition, through vocals and instruments. What is born from this balanced collaboration is cohesion in psychedelic and garage rock music. No two songs on “When I Think Of You In A Castle” are similar; each track cancels preceding harmonies by contrasting in speed or the major influence of an instrument. This cancellation works in the album’s favor, successfully displaying its cohesiveness with no ill sound. At the end of the album, I was honestly left speechless, yet satisfied.
The first song, “Everywhere All at Once,” begins the album with quiet guitar strums and is entirely instrumental. Synths are also played, and there is a calm sense of psychedelia throughout. At the track’s end, the guitar playing becomes more intense and the song immediately flows into the album’s first single, “Gelatin Mode,” which commences a heavy guitar influence, immediately cancelling out the genteel psychedelics of the preceding song. Percussion and electric guitar gain instrumental control for nearly six minutes, along with calming vocals that have a creepy undertone. Joe Keery’s voice is haunting as he states, “Your mind, gelatin mode. Time to explode.” These lyrics represent the looming psychedelic theme throughout the album. There is a scream in the last minute, with, “Been low, travelin’ slow out on your own. Your mind, gelatin mode,” being repeated a few times afterwards.
There is a constant switch between which instrument gains control of a song’s influence, with synths, guitar and drums either gaining control of a song’s section or the track overall; sometimes there are two instruments in equal charge. Yet, all three remain prevalent in each song, no matter which takes more command over another. The vocals, which are sung by all members who switch roles as lead in different songs, maintain a calming, melodic effect that never sways despite the ranging intensity of the instruments.
The theme of contrast that is seen in both “Everywhere All at Once” and “Gelatin Mode” arrives again in the last two songs, “One Thing” and “Dirtpicker.” “One Thing” is a slow-moving song heavily based in quiet yet powerful synths and guitar; the song has a daydream effect. It ends on a quiet note and “Dirtpicker” begins very quickly and loudly. When I first heard this, I was taken off-guard by this change of pace. Similar to “Gelatin Mode,” the track is nearly six minutes long, yet its speed leaves you in disbelief that it lasts that length of time. Ending on an unbelievably fast, yet long note, the album leaves you in a psychedelic daze.
The rock scene in Chicago is booming with acts such as Twin Peaks, Whitney, Modern Vices and countless others; Post Animal is adding to the Chicago scene’s prominence and success with this arrival of illustrious psychedelia.