Review Summary: "Out of the way, Steve, we got this!"
You may know more than you think about Post Animal, especially if you are a fan of Netflix 80s tinged sci-fi flick Stranger Things. as ex-guitarist, Joe Keery, by some inexplicable twist of fate, ended up becoming a worldwide known TV superstar thanks to his portraying of the wild haired baseball bat master Steve Harrington. And I say ex-guitarist because Keery's TV escapade, far from being beneficial to the band's career, was instead the reason that almost killed it. Due to the show's unstoppable success, Keery decided to leave the band before the touring for their debut album started. A decision that allowed the Chicago five-piece to focus on the future without the constraints of an impossible schedule, although rumors say Keery is still unofficially a member of the band, in spirit maybe, or in the shadows, forever conspiring in a musical plot he could never really abandon.
On paper, the change was undoubtedly for the better for every party involved. Post Animal's second release is a wonderful psychedelic rock outing with a myriad of influences, solid songwriting and a stellar production work carried out by longtime collaborator, Adam Thein, along with the band's bassist and vocalist, Dalton Allison. The scope of Forward Motion Godyssey
is, to put it simply, huge. It's even more impressive after learning that the songs collected here are the result of just a week of brainstorming and recordings in absolute reclusion in Big Sky, Montana. This sophomore effort shows a band far more expressive and confident in their potential in comparison with their debut, When I think of you in a castle
. The band's first effort was a promising presentation card, albeit more linear and limited to sporadic outbursts of energetic indie rock and timid experimenting with their sound. In resume, Post Animal's debut was the rocket's launching phase, and Forward Motion Godyssey
is the glorious explosion in outer space.
Few minutes into Post Animal's latest record and you'll be welcomed by the fuzzy heaviness of "Post Animal" slapping your face right after being tricked by the suave
, soft Tropicalia breeze of the opening track, "Your Life Away". Forward Motion Godyssey
is a bottomless piñata of surprises and it's this constant genre hopping and sound shapeshifting what makes it such an entertaining and dynamic album. Tracks like "Schedule" and "How do you feel" are painted with Electric Light Orchestra colors, led by warm vocal lines and wrapped in a legion of synths, while "Damaged Goods" breaks through with a stoner riff that is the last thing you expect ten tracks deep into the album. The rhythm section provided by Dalton Allison and drummer Wesley Toledo is splendid, whether is them keeping up with the spacey, semi-disco groove of "Safe or Not" or erupting the quasi-prog rock feel of "In a paradise". Post Animal doesn't hesitate either in getting weirdly esoteric in songs like "Fitness", a monotonal tune initially driven by an entrancing beat on bongos and drenched in reverb that evolves like a mantra into a droning, last minute epic break connecting with the previously mentioned proggy flare.
Closing with the galactic doom ballad "Sifting", Post Animal sings off an extraordinary release, although this may very well be a dividing statement. The reasons are varied and many, as such a dystopian conjunction of styles will very likely put off part of its audience, especially those accustomed to the steady pace of the band's first release. The sharing of vocal duties between all the members of the band is another aspect that may be detrimental for some ears too. The hollow crooning of songs like "Your life away" or "Fitness" contrasts greatly with the indie pop friendly, nasal pitch of "Schedule", or even with the falsettos in "Safe or not". It's an approach that provides Forward Motion Godyssey
with a kaleidoscopical palette that allows every song to become somewhat unique, but that for some, it might work against the album in terms of consistency.
What is clear though is that, regardless of personal taste, Post Animal have developed a really interesting sound after avoiding the curve ball that could have been "the band of the Stranger Things guy" stigma. Forward Motion Godyssey
is surely an album containing something for almost everyone, so be sure to give it a try... or not, although in that case the Mind Flayer will take care of you.