Since Animal Eyes moved to Portland from Alaska five years ago, the band has progressed steadily towards discovering the edges of where rock, pop, and psychedelic meet. Their experiments with pop formula and energetic live performance have landed Animal Eyes gigs alongside indie heroes Foals and Menomena, as well as festival spots at SXSW and Treefort Music Festival. The group has toured the West Coast extensively, and is gearing up to hit the road again in summer of 2016 in support of their album “Where We Go,” released May 20th, 2016.

Their 2013 release, “Ursus,” saw the band pulling away from the folk-infused compositions of their 2011 debut “Found in the Forest,” into a realm of angular rock music. ‘Mushroom Hunter’ is the first single released from “Where We Go.” The song showcases the band’s signature off-kilter grooves, twisted pop song structures, and layered vocal melodies, conjuring comparisons to The Dirty Projectors and Animal Collective.

“Where We Go” was written during turbulent times. Relationships were ending and beginning. A good friend died and a brother nearly died. The writing on the album is a product of attempts to sort out how relationships, romantic or familial, shape everyone involved in them, and how they continue to affect identity even as those people move away from each other, spatially and emotionally. The album is part light-hearted and part tense, because as serious as all of it can get, there is a certain silliness and awkwardness to the human learning experience.

Photographer: Todd Walberg