Five years after moving south to Portland from their former “end of the road” locale of Alaska, and the subsequent release of their debut album, Found in the Forest, Animal Eyes’ spacey, experimental indie rock sound has grown to a new maturity on their new self-released sophomore LP, Where We Go.

Born out of a period of personal and romantic strife, Where We Go acts like a string of personal diary entries, expressing emotions from both ends of the spectrum through a medley of intriguing auditory expressions.

“Feeding Snakes” starts the album out on the cooler side of the pillow; a steady creep up in energy, warming it up into one of the most catchy tunes on the record. “Zeke Wizard,” which is also featured on this year’s PDX Pop Now! compilation, showcases Animal Eyes’ musical dexterity with the dark, powerful vocal stylings of accordion player/keyboardist Sam Tenhoff.

The album’s lead single “Mushroom Hunter” also sees a vocal romp from the collaborating voices of the band, with some impressive guitar-matching falsettos. And having been the first track to come off the album, it offers an accurate account for the overall feel to Where We Go, with it’s familiar semblance to certain famed sounds of Animal Collective and Dr. Dog.

“Southern Giants” is an airy wave of pulsating operatic noise, while the album’s title track “Where We Go” feels much heavier, with a desolate western/space vibe, punctuated by the crash of a delay-soaked snare. “Alligator Sex” leads quietly down the hallways towards the album’s end, before swelling into, out-of, and back into a ripping psychedelic-Phil Collins crescendo of an exit.

Though Where We Go may have flourished out of trying times for the members of Animal Eyes, they clearly took the reins of the bullshit and channeled the fevered emotions into a tight package of expressive songs. Here’s to hoping we don’t have to wait so long for their next album.

See Them Live: Catch Animal Eyes this Thursday night at Mississippi Studios for the vinyl release of Where We Go, with support from Sama Dams and Seattle’s Fauna Shade.

[Editors Note: We’ll update this post with the full stream for Where We Go once it’s available, but until then enjoy the album’s lead single “Mushroom Hunter.”]