A grab bag of psychedelic adventures
Post Animal has been active as a group for over five years now, yet Forward Motion Godyssey is just their second studio album. They’re certainly not in their infancy, but one could consider Post Animal a relatively young band, overflowing with very good ideas. This album is proof of that, but still they aren’t quite capable of wrangling those ideas into a proper album yet.
On “Your Life Away,” Post Animal eases listeners into the album with smooth vocal lines, bright synths, and sparing drums. The song builds into a fantastic guitar solo in the final minutes, that beautifully leads into the more high energy opening of “Post Animal.” This track introduces another side of the band; their more noisy, droney and overtly energetic side. It’s an exciting second track, invoking a sense of curiosity over what else the band can achieve. “Schedule” reveals a more synth-pop focused Post Animal. The vocals and synths emit hopeful melancholy, while the drums and brief guitar licks keep the song moving briskly. This track marks Post Animal’s third successful stylistic adventure, and it’s just track three.
Unfortunately, the next track, “Fitness” is their first misstep. While the band opted for a more thoughtful and introspective sound and lyrical/vocal tone, they’re weighed down by a surprisingly lacking production. “In a Paradise” is a bit better, but it exists in an ambiguous space somewhere between the smoothness of “Your Life Away” and the aggressiveness of “Post Animal.” Both the heaviest and most rhythmic parts of the song feel out of place. This is made all the more surprising by the fact that the next track, “The Whole,” houses some of the coolest instrumental work on the project.
“How Do You Feel” then refocuses on a more stereotypically psychedelic rock sound, and joins “Schedule” as one of the best tracks on the album. “Safe or Not” introduces some new percussion, and finds a nice uptempo pocket within this more typical psych style. Next, “Private Shield” highlights the band’s vocal talents and excellent use of synths on the chorus. Unexpected syncopations and vintage guitar work on “Damaged Goods,” and gorgeous arpeggiated electronics on “Sifting” end the album on a high note.
This album reveals one of the unfortunate pitfalls of being adventurous in music production. If there’s no through-line, too many stylistic sidetracks can result in an unfocused album. Forward Motion Godyssey can feel a little all over the place at times. Many of their experiments are successful, but their lack of focus on one lane makes the project feel more like a collection of mostly great songs, which is not at all the same thing as a cohesive album. Considering the fact that the second half of the project feels at least somewhat well organized, the band is definitely capable of putting together a true album. We’ll just have to wait and see if they go in that direction with their next release. For the time being, Forward Motion Godyssey can provide plenty of psych-rock jams for fans already familiar with the genre.