Post Animal goes it alone and leads with love

On the heels of new album 'Love Gibberish,' the Chicago rock band visits Ace of Cups on Saturday, June 4

Joel Oliphint
Columbus Alive
Post Animal

Leading up to the pandemic, Chicago rock quintet Post Animal had been doing the typical touring band cycle — recording albums, releasing them (on indie label Polyvinyl), then hitting the road for weeks or months at a time.

But the pandemic offered a pause, which the band used to reassess its past, present and future. In the course of those conversations, the five guys in Post Animal realized they wanted to strike out on their own. “Working with a record label requires a lot of jumping through certain hoops. That’s the case with any company; it's nothing personal to Polyvinyl. They were really great to work with for a bunch of years,” said Post Animal’s Jake Hirshland. “Since we had the option to step away and do something independent, we thought it might be a good idea to try to do it. The legal gods gave us this window of opportunity, so we decided to give it a shot.”

For starters, the band scheduled an eight-day writing retreat on the Hirshland family farm in the Driftless area of Wisconsin, about an hour outside of Hirshland’s hometown of Madison. “It’s a really comfortable place. I've been going there since I can remember. It’s a place to relax and recharge,” Hirshland said. “We were all reconnecting after a long time of being apart and isolated. … We were far out in the middle of nowhere, communicating with nature while writing, and feeling that freedom to play whatever we want as loud as we want as late into the night as we want.”

That spacious, adventurous, freewheeling feeling comes through on Love Gibberish, the new album Post Animal wrote, recorded and produced entirely on its own. On Saturday, June 4, the band will bring its current tour to Columbus for a show at Ace of Cups.

For the first time, Post Animal finished all the songs instrumentally at the farm, playing them together, live, to iron out the parts. “I don't know if I've ever been able to play songs that well before recording them. We really knew how to play the whole album as a band prior to entering the studio,” Hirshland said.

That independent, go-it-alone philosophy also seeped into the creative process. “We felt like we were coming back to our roots as a group, where we didn't have any pressure and we were just writing for the joy and the art of it,” he said. “This record is us being very psychedelic, where we're being exploratory and trying to genre-bend and do a mindful, Frankenstein blending of all these different things that we love and seeing how they all piece together.” 

Since everyone in Post Animal writes songs, the band’s albums tend to stylistically jump all over the place, but perhaps even more so on Love Gibberish, which gets its name from a line in a song written by Matt Williams, “When You Walk Towards Me.” “We were kind of taken with that idea — this languageless-ness of love. … All of the songs are about love in some way,” Hirshland said. “Leading your life with love in the center — you can feel that throughout the record.”