Walk The Moon

Talking Is Hard

Written by: HES on 30/11/2014 17:33:38

Walk The Moon recently released an EP to test the waters of a more pop'ish sound and by God have they mastered this with the new album "Talking Is Hard". Many bands try to take the steps from being a quirky underground phenomenon to the appearing in the broader pop rock market along with suppliers of delicious hooks like Vampire Weekend, The Kooks or Fun. the latter of whom Walk The Moon supported yesteryear. But even though an appealing and loveable musical baby has been born, few births come without complications and Walk The Moon are showcasing talent on this release, but also jumping a few fences to get there.

Overall "Talking Is Hard" is an album bent in sunshine neon and soaked in contagious happiness from start to end. I honestly wonder if the band has realised that in a fall where everyone is worrying about their vitamin D-levels they have effectively created the cure for the sneaking winter depression? The beforementioned The Kooks just delivered a similar experience with their latest release "Listen", but unfortunately both bands fall into the pitfall of not being able to keep up the energy throughout the album - fillers occur a bit too frequently and some songs just stick more than others. Among this album's star tracks are the surprisingly distorted, britrock-ish gem "Up 2 U", building ass-kicking tension with a pretty low key verse and a beyond energetic guitar driven chorus.

I honestly didn't expect Walk The Moon to master this level of rock sound - being more of a borderline pop-ensemble. Vocalist Nicholas Petricca delivers traumatizingly up-to-par screams and howls, showing a whole new part of his repertoire - which is still convincingly integrated into the Walk The Moon-sound. "Spend Your $$$" plays ball with the same brit-rock vibe, rolling it just a tad close to The Kook's "Forgive & Forget" - but honestly that particular song is worth sharing playing field with. In the more "classic Walk The Moon" department is the absolutely masterful album single "Shut Up And Dance With Me", high in tempo and hitting every danceable note to perfection. "Portugal" swerves by in the same sound, not as masterfully - but still with hook-work of grade A.

As might be apparent already, this album is slowly starting to move in two directions, but wait for it - there are the calypso-happy section of "Work This Body" which is the rock equivalent of Justin Timberlake bringing sexy back, and "Aquaman" that is just back paddling by an exotic island. This part of the band's repertoire is more like a cheerful Vampire Weekend - which is actually pretty charmless as the melancholy is the most endearing part of VW's sound. The last direction included on “Talking Is Hard” is the more on-trend 80’s sound with a bit of synth. It’s used perfect on the beforementioned single “Shut Up And Dance With Me”, keeping mainly to the background, but adding (if that was possible) more “pep” to the sound, but on other tracks like “Sidekick” is honestly a bit of auto-pilot, the guys kinda trying to wing it by endearing lyrics - but overall the track is pretty boring and the other track in this category “Avalanche” is practically forgettable apart for Petricca’s falsetto.

Just to sum “Talking Is Hard” up in a few buzzwords for you to use in your consideration as to whether this album should go in your “to do”-list this winter: If you need a heavy dose of almost over-the-top happy pop or something sexy for your indie-party, “Talking Is Hard” should be the doctor’s prescription. But if you have serious objections to happy indie-rock borderlining the mainstream, maybe even touching the “pop”-label, then stay away - this album will annoy the hell out of your bitter heart. The band has used a lot of energy on perfecting this part of the genre and they do it well all things taken into consideration, managing better than The Kook’s “Listen”. I can’t help being bitter that the tones of “Spend Your $$$” and “Up 2 U” never really get to dominate the soundscape, rather only making a brief visit. I will however overall recommend “Talking Is Hard” as an instant injection of sunshine and sexyness which is after all not a bad combo.


Download: Up 2 U, Spend Your $$$, Shut Up And Dance With Me, Work This Body
For The Fans Of: Vampire Weekend, The Kooks, Grouplove
Listen: facebook.com

Release Date 24.11.2014
RCA Records

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