Following a pair of EPs that were recorded before the band expanded to a six-piece, When I Think of You in a Castle is the full-length debut of Chicago's Post Animal. After getting some attention in the entertainment press for having Stranger Things actor Joe Keery ("Steve Harrington") among their members, Post Animal more than prove their classic-rock mettle on the album, which is also their label debut (Polyvinyl). It's a tight, sometimes bombastic, sometimes sweet mix of old-school hard, prog, and psych rock with a shot of indie-era slacker keeping it all grounded -- at least for the most part. Listeners will find passing nods to Queen, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, and more after the quietly trippy instrumental "Everywhere All at Once" opens the set with acoustic guitar, harpsichord-like Casiotone, and rain. Intense rock drumming and both unison and harmonized guitar riffs from any the group's four guitarists set the stage for much of what's to come on "Gelatin Mode." A tempo-shifting epic that drifts between solo-peppered arena rock, metal, and floaty psychedelia, it's anchored by the group's ever-present harmonic sensibilities. The punkier "Dirtpicker" still makes room for harmonized guitar licks and solos, while more structured tracks like "Ralphie" and "Special Moment" circle power pop. The style digressions here are united by a consistent production palette, compact hooks, and a welcoming vibe that's the product of warm lyrics and vocals (by multiple members) that don't often posture, even when their instrumental counterparts do. Whether that all sounds cautionary or almost too good to be true, either reaction is correct concerning When I Think of You in a Castle, though skeptics might be won over by what are just plain good tunes.
AllMusic Review by Marcy Donelson