You've probably heard this band's latest single, "Shut Up And Dance", on the radio. But maybe you didn't take notice because to some, it might sound like everything else that gets top 40, on-air time.
In my opinion, "Shut Up And Dance" is the safest song on Walk the Moon's latest album, TALKING IS HARD (2014), which dropped yesterday (11.24.14) on Spotify - a week early. Indie pop-rock dance anthems are a-plenty these days, often dangerously walking along the line of cliche and unoriginal (see also: fun., Neon Trees, Grouplove, The Mowgli's, etc. etc...sorry but I'm not a big fan.). In fact, Walk The Moon's first hit single "Anna Sun" was added to the American Eagle Outfitters playlist in 2011, if that means anything to you. Most of the time, these pop anthems are one and the same - undistinguishable from the next, mixed with layers and layers of vocals on top of synths, and almost always in that high, falsetto-esque range (why? who knows).
But after listening to the album as whole, I can't help but think that Walk The Moon has a special charm that other trend-following indie pop bands don't have. As live performers, the four guys (Nicholas Petricca, Kevin Ray, Sean Waugaman, & Eli Maiman) from Cincinnati, OH actually align more closely with fellow indie rockers Young The Giant (who they toured with in 2012). They perform with energy comparable to that of Vampire Weekend, sing with a noticeable amount of Panic! At The Disco's Brendon Urie inspiration (who they also just toured with on The Gospel Tour), and play certain songs live with just enough distortion to be reminiscent of The Killers.
If you want a solid album to work out to, listen to TALKING IS HARD. It opens with a typical anthem-sounding song "Different Colors" (not loving it), but tracks like "Sidekick" and "Avalance" are determined to get you moving. The synth-heavy songs like "Down In The Dumps" and "Portugal" make me think of what Hellogoodbye and P!atD would sound like mashed together. "Work This Body" could sneak its way onto a Vampire Weekend album. My favorite track is "Up 2 U" - the chorus hits you like a wave, but a good, angsty one. The album goes out on a quieter note with "Come Under The Covers" and "Aquaman", which the band snuck in there after 6pm on their last day of recording.
Checking out their earlier self-titled album, Walk The Moon (2012), proved me right - with a few exceptions, they were more like indie rock a few years ago - and really damn good. [Methinks the poppier sound was contrived to attract the teenage girl demographic? Sad.] But this isn't anything new (similar story for New Politics)..it seems to be the dying music industry's answer. Anyway - try out "Tightrope", "Jenny", and "Shiver Shiver".
I really like this band, and I'm calling it now - they're definitely not going to be a "one-and-done" kind of group. They have a lead vocalist (Nicholas Petricca) who can actually sing really well ("Iscariot") and from what I can tell, they put on energetic live shows that gets everyone dancing. Walk The Moon will be playing on December 6th at The Aragon Ballroom in Uptown, Chicago - I'm hoping to score a ticket! If Walk The Moon isn't on your radar yet, be sure to check them out, because they're going places.