With the unstoppable wave of chaos dominating the news cycle for the last few years, there’s seemed to be a growing cultural embrace of nihilism. This doesn’t have to be a depressing philosophy: rather, there’s a joyful sort of liberty that comes from the mantra of “nothing matters, do what makes you happy.” On Love Gibberish, it feels like Post Animal has taken that advice. While many indie rock bands are often concerned with presenting themselves as the Cool Kids™, the Chicago quintet abandons every ounce of self-consciousness, diving headlong into decidedly unhip and incongruent influences like dad-approved classic rock, neon disco, and hazy dream pop.
Post Animal are no strangers to sonic kaleidoscopes: the five members have split songwriting, production, and lead vocal duties for their entire career, bringing their vast scope of influences into their sound. The Chicago Tribune once described them as “if Tame Impala listened to a lot of Black Sabbath and was signed to Elephant 6.” But on Love Gibberish—the first self-released record in years—they’re as kaleidoscopic as ever. The group offers up tributes to Van Halen and Billy Squires with the same conviction as more contemporary indie rock tracks. While “No More Sports” sounds like something your dad might have blasted from the garage while working on his hot rod, “Megaphone” feels more appropriate for a trendy bar in Wicker Park.
Throughout the record they shift between these polls with such fluency that you’re not totally sure if the dad rock portions are ironic or meant in earnest. “Cancer Moon” in particular feels like Journey was hired as Tame Impala’s backing band, its catchy psych-pop choruses interrupted by anthemic guitar riffs (not to mention the old school Galaxy-style electric piano in the verses). Opener “Bolt From Above” pairs an infectiously dancey indie rock tune with a guitar line that sounds borrowed from Cheap Trick. “Puppy Dog” winks liberally to Fleetwood Mac with a cascading acoustic guitar line weaving around a springy lead guitar part.
Whatever they’re doing though, it’s working. Every schlocky guitar lick and dated keyboard patch is sprinkled in the exact right proportions. These elements would overpower an aural dish if used by less-expert chefs, but Post Animal mixes enough other ingredients into the recipe to create rich, complex flavors. It’s mischievous and playful while remaining tender and sentimental—which I think is something we could all use these days.
Love Gibberish is out May 16th through their Bandcamp page.