Last year, Mary Lynn Gloeckle and bandmate Joe Camerlengo were in the basement of Camerlengo's Olde Towne East home trying to finish the album they'd been writing and recording and mixing for months. Affectionately dubbed the Fair, the lower-level space actually resembles something out of a low-budget sci-fi movie, with silver glitter scattered across damp stones.

Last year, Mary Lynn Gloeckle and bandmate Joe Camerlengo were in the basement of Camerlengo's Olde Towne East home trying to finish the album they'd been writing and recording and mixing for months. Affectionately dubbed the Fair, the lower-level space actually resembles something out of a low-budget sci-fi movie, with silver glitter scattered across damp stones.

"It's this insane location," said guitarist Camerlengo, who, along with singer/keyboardist Gloeckle, drummer Jeremy Skeen and bassist Corey Montgomery, was also doused in glitter after a recent photo shoot at Alive's Downtown offices. "It was night 400 of working on the album or something. We were just sitting in the dark, and I remember we were going through songs to see how we felt. And there was one song where we played it, and we didn't say anything for like a half hour."

"I might have had my head down," said Gloeckle, who performs as Mary Lynn. "I was having a mental breakdown in the basement."

"You were like, 'I don't even know what to think. I don't even know if this sounds good,'" said Camerlengo (he and Gloeckle finish each other's sentences often). "You were talking about how you didn't know if you should even release the album. You were losing your fucking mind."

It was the make-or-break moment for what would eventually become My Animal, the follow-up to Mary Lynn's 2013 debut album, Familiar Things & Places. The band will release the vinyl version of My Animal (Anyway Records) locally at Carabar on Friday, Aug. 19, and nationally on Sept. 23.

The light bulb that brightened that dark moment in the basement was a realization that the band members needed someone else to assemble the pieces they'd collected. Gloeckle and Camerlengo, whose musical history dates back to their time in chamber-pop group This is My Suitcase, remembered a standing offer from Philadelphia producer/engineer Bill Moriarty (a frequent collaborator with Dr. Dog, one of Gloeckle's favorite bands) to mix some songs from their former band, so they reached out by email. A few months later, they were sitting in Moriarty's living room mixing the record.

"It let us focus more on the art side of it," Gloeckle said of handing over the tracks. "It was also cool just to see and hear him work. I felt like I was watching Walt Disney make a movie."

Camerlengo had a similar feeling working with Gloeckle. He helped write a guitar part for "Space" - one of 11 expertly crafted, piano-forward pop-rock tunes that comprise one of the best albums to come out of Columbus this year - and then Gloeckle sat down and began writing piano parts around the riff.

"She picked the chords in this crazy way," Camerlengo said. "It was amazing."

Gloeckle stretches her strong voice in new ways on My Animal, and the record incorporates more layers of fuzzy noise to accompany the bouncy piano and lyrics that find Gloeckle venting about a bad day made worse by co-workers asking if she's OK ("If my day doesn't go your way, please don't say, 'cuz I tried and I tried," she sings on "Um") and working through broken relationships (she laments a "break that makes me want to die" on "The Break").

Gloeckle doesn't seem to know how to make a song without a playful hook, but that doesn't mean My Animal is "cute."

"Some people hear it and equate it to cute because, a.) Mary Lynn is a girl and the world is sexist," Camerlengo said, "and b.) she has glasses and her name is Mary Lynn. So people are like, 'Oh, you're so cute and fun!' And it's like, well, you're not wrong, but you would never walk up to some dude making a pop record and be like, 'Aw, Frank Ocean, you're cute!'"

"It's a rock 'n' roll album, too," Gloeckle said. "Going into this, I accepted that I make rock 'n' roll music."