After the success of Walk The Moon’s eponymous 2012 debut and a long and rigorous tour, the band escaped for six weeks to a repurposed Masonic Lodge, of all places, to write material for their new album. Fifty songs later they took to the studio with the end product of twelve brilliantly catchy, extremely well produced indie-pop gems that all seem to have infinite replay value.
The album opens with Different Colors, also the album’s second single, a fun and uplifting track about embracing people’s differences, and already we’re on the vibe of positivity and empowerment that continues through the album (but manages not to feel trite or pious). This leads into Sidekick, a desperately exciting song about falling in love with a friend, with delirious staccato singing à la David Byrne and a Talking Heads-style instrumental break.
Shut Up And Dance is already an undeniable indie anthem having reached number 4 on the Billboard Top 100 and number 1 on the Alternative and Rock charts. It’s easy to see why the song has become such a fan-favourite; it’s fantastically rhythmic, with a hugely catchy chorus, an epic synth solo, and enough attitude to rival Hit Me With Your Best Shot, not to mention the music video, which is hilarious (see below).
Up 2 U and Spend Your $$$ explore the darker, more raw side of Walk The Moon. For a band that is so light and polished so much of the time, they pull this darker, heavier aesthetic off with surprising flair. The former song is a critique of the overly money-minded and the latter is a comic look at consumerism with the tongue-in-cheek chorus “What do you spend your money on? / I hope it’s something of value!” Both songs go down extremely well live, with audiences head-banging and jumping around, singing wildly.
Portugal and Avalanche are great examples of how Walk The Moon are able to deal with more emotional subjects. The former is about a missed romantic opportunity and the challenges of growing up while the latter encapsulates the feeling of new love and taking a chance. Both songs offer fresh, heartfelt lyrics and further evidence of Walk The Moon’s fantastic melodic sensibilities.
Down In The Dumps begins with a Queen-like intro, declaring “You can throw all the fits and the tantrums you want / But I won’t let you bring, bring me back down,” and grows into a groovy robot rock anthem about not letting the haters get you down, but thankfully without using the word “haters”. Work This Body is reminiscent of Vampire Weekend with its Caribbean beat, quickly sung lyrics, choral “Yeah’s”, and vigorous energy.
Closing track, Aquaman is a beautiful love song in the vein of Peter Gabriel’s In Your Eyes, with wonderful orchestral details like the flute motif and subtle notes of brass, all brought together by Nick’s tender vocal delivery. I had the pleasure of interviewing the band last week and was related the story of how Aquaman was recorded. The band were out to dinner to celebrate their last day of recording and there was one song they all loved but hadn’t recorded yet. They decided to go back into the studio late that evening and stayed there through the night, recording Aquaman. This fits perfectly with the intimate, late-night feel of the song.
What Walk The Moon have done on this album is a rare feat for a second album. They’ve captured the essence of their debut’s uplifting youthful charm, but they’ve also pushed hard at the boundaries of their sound. The result is a playful album that showcases the band’s versatility and their uncanny knack for catchy melodies. Each person who listens to this album will have different favourites among the tracks: because each song is of such high quality, picking favourites becomes quite subjective. Their lyrics are empowering and relatable, the music is undeniably uplifting, and the record, as a whole, works perfectly as a coherent piece. This is is an album for unashamed embarrassing bedroom dancing, for sharing with friends on late summer nights, and for making memories. Walk The Moon, I commend you and I thank you.