Post Animal Release One of the Great 2018 Rock Albums and This Is Their Story

Photo courtesy of Polyvinyl Records

Post Animal deliver an excellent debut, When I Think of You in a Castle, full of psychedelic and hard rock history that never ceases to be a blast.

When I Think of You in a Castle
Post Animal


20 April 2018

If you are wondering how When I Think of You in a Castle, one of the great rock records of 2018, came to be, grab some popcorn and I'll tell you the tale. In the land of Chicago, the guys of Post Animal were stressed late at night with the assignment of writing their debut LP. Having formerly released two exciting psychedelic rock EPs in the past couple years, this should have been a breeze for the six friends. But somehow the stakes seemed higher as they contemplated a full-length album. As the night dragged on, the group popped Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure into the VCR, hoping to find some inspiration from the similarly-fated duo scrambling through space and time to complete their own assignment. And with the help of some other psychedelic paraphernalia, Post Animal was hit with inspiration like lightning. As time and space converged in the film through the famous telephone booth at the Circle K, they realized time and space would also converge for them through the magical jukebox called Spotify, which held all the great rock and rollers of history.

"We could be 'Everywhere All at Once'," they realized. And thus the journey into rock's annals entitled When I Think of You in a Castle was launched. Rain began to fall. The gentle acoustic guitar arpeggios picked on the cabin porch were slowly transported by swirling synths and purple haze into the tight, electric melodies of Thin Lizzy and early Queen. "Time's slippin', I've been slippin' up / Clocks ticking and the spaces never feel like enough," the narrator begins on "Gelatin Mode", marking the beginning of a high-speed space journey to whatever planet produced such artifacts as the Guardians of the Galaxy and Baby Driver soundtracks. The narrator is then met mid-flight by a cosmic guide who responds in the dreamy chorus, "I know it's getting hard to navigate this world alone / Try to open wide and see the world from each and every other side you know."

After continuing deeper into space and hallucination, the group lands right in the middle of a John Hughes production titled "Ralphie" where the titular douchebag steals our narrator's girl Lorelei at a high school party whilst Steely Dan is performing harmonized guitar somersaults akin to "Reelin' in the Years" before Hall and Oates and Toto combine to create a power pop masterpiece which masks the pain of heartbreak with sweet melodies and hooky instrumental interludes.

Things turn back to the '60s British invasion as the heartbroken singer, with a Rolling Stones-like swagger, condemns Lorelei for having a "Heart Made of Metal". However, as the song crosses the halfway point, our timelords take off again as things take a sinister turn with Sabbath sludge riffs and screams soundtracking a production now helmed by Stephen King as the heartbreak victim plots revenge with the eerie meditation, "Lorelei's been on my mind today / I don't know what to do, what to say."

The sinister tone continues as the protagonist-turned-antagonist pursues his lost love with crazed fervor through the funky "Special Moment" and the fuzzy stomp "Victory Lap: Danger Zone". But as the latter track comes to a close, a tranquil peace is found with airy synths and meditative electric guitars, and the horror is over. "I'm falling through a new dimension every day," the narrator dreamily sings as Post Animal's travels back toward Earth bring them to the Dark Side of the Moon on "One Thing". He continues, "I guess I'll find peace in time."

But before the epic journey can come to an end, "Dirtpicker" delivers a last surge of energy fueled by driving Deep Purple-esque hard rock. (Or is it King Gizzard?) Now finding his peace, our narrator finally finds his long-lost Lorelei, who now begs to come back to him. But in the great climax of the film, the response thunders: "Swallow those sweet words / Too late babe 'cause it's coming on / There's no way, there's no chance / I won't bend, find another puppet." The hero returns to Earth most triumphantly and the credits roll. And in a final post-credits scene, we find our hero happily beside his new girl "Susie" in a happily ever after sequence soundtracked by the Eagles with signature harmonies from the Beach Boys.

As the trip finally concluded, (I'm starting to think it was definitely the LSD and not a magical jukebox…) Post Animal recited to perfection the tale they experienced, and we received a thrilling and cinematic piece of music that stands tall among its peers.





Run the Jewels - "Ooh LA LA" (Singles Going Steady)

Run the Jewels' "Ooh LA LA" may hit with old-school hip-hop swagger, but it also frustratingly affirms misogynistic bro-culture.


New Translation of Balzac's 'Lost Illusions' Captivates

More than just a tale of one man's fall, Balzac's Lost Illusions charts how literature becomes another commodity in a system that demands backroom deals, moral compromise, and connections.


Protomartyr - "Processed by the Boys" (Singles Going Steady)

Protomartyr's "Processed By the Boys" is a gripping spin on reality as we know it, and here, the revolution is being televised.


Go-Go's Bassist Kathy Valentine Is on the "Write" Track After a Rock-Hard Life

The '80s were a wild and crazy time also filled with troubles, heartbreak and disappointment for Go-Go's bass player-guitarist Kathy Valentine, who covers many of those moments in her intriguing dual project that she discusses in this freewheeling interview.


New Brain Trajectory: An Interview With Lee Ranaldo and Raül Refree

Two guitarists, Lee Ranaldo and Raül Refree make an album largely absent of guitar playing and enter into a bold new phase of their careers. "We want to take this wherever we can and be free of genre restraints," says Lee Ranaldo.


'Trans Power' Is a Celebration of Radical Power and Beauty

Juno Roche's Trans Power discusses trans identity not as a passageway between one of two linear destinations, but as a destination of its own.


Yves Tumor Soars With 'Heaven to a Tortured Mind'

On Heaven to a Tortured Mind, Yves Tumor relishes his shift to microphone caressing rock star. Here he steps out of his sonic chrysalis, dons some shiny black wings and soars.


Mike Patton and Anthony Pateras' tētēma Don't Hit the Mark on 'Necroscape'

tētēma's Necroscape has some highlights and some interesting ambiance, but ultimately it's a catalog of misses for Mike Patton and Anthony Pateras.


M. Ward Offers Comforting Escapism on 'Migration Stories'

Although M. Ward didn't plan the songs on Migration Stories for this pandemic, they're still capable of acting as a balm in these dark hours.


Parsonsfield Add Indie Pop to Their Folk on 'Happy Hour on the Floor'

Happy Hour on the Floor is a considerable departure from Parsonsfield's acclaimed rustic folk sound signaling their indie-pop orientation. Parsonsfield remind their audience to bestow gratitude and practice happiness: a truly welcomed exaltation.


JARV IS... - "House Music All Night Long" (Singles Going Steady)

"House Music All Night Long" is a song our inner, self-isolated freaks can jive to. JARV IS... cleverly captures how dazed and confused some of us may feel over the current pandemic, trapped in our homes.


All Kinds of Time: Adam Schlesinger's Pursuit of Pure, Peerless Pop

Adam Schlesinger was a poet laureate of pure pop music. There was never a melody too bright, a lyrical conceit too playfully dumb, or a vibe full of radiation that he would shy away from. His sudden passing from COVID-19 means one of the brightest stars in the power-pop universe has suddenly dimmed.


Folkie Eliza Gilkyson Turns Up the Heat on '2020'

Eliza Gilkyson aims to inspire the troops of resistance on her superb new album, 2020. The ten songs serve as a rallying cry for the long haul.


Human Impact Hit Home with a Seismic First Album From a Veteran Lineup

On their self-titled debut, Human Impact provide a soundtrack for this dislocated moment where both humanity and nature are crying out for relief.


Monophonics Are an Ardent Blast of True Rock 'n' Soul on 'It's Only Us'

The third time's the charm as Bay Area soul sextet Monophonics release their shiniest record yet in It's Only Us.


'Slay the Dragon' Is a Road Map of the GOP's Methods for Dividing and Conquering American Democracy

If a time traveler from the past wanted to learn how to subvert democracy for a few million bucks, gerrymandering documentary Slay the Dragon would be a superb guide.


Bobby Previte / Jamie Saft / Nels Cline: Music from the Early 21st Century

A power-trio of electric guitar, keyboards, and drums takes on the challenge of free improvisation—but using primarily elements of rock and electronica as strongly as the usual creative music or jazz. The result is focused.


Does Inclusivity Mean That Everyone Does the Same Thing?

What is the meaning of diversity in today's world? Russell Jacoby raises and addresses some pertinent questions in his latest work, On Diversity.

Collapse Expand Reviews
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.