Walk the Moon | Talking Is Hard (RCA)

cd walk-the-moonThe band is propelling itself to a sold-out tour on the strength of first single “Shut Up and Dance.”




The spirit of Talking Heads is alive and well in the sounds of Cincinnati band Walk the Moon on its latest release, Talking Is Hard. The band’s self-titled debut in 2012 grabbed attention with its dance-pop grooves and sugar-laden lyrics, but Talking Is Hard takes the sound to a new level that doesn’t mind adding meaning behind the sweetness.

“Different Colors” begins the album with the message “’cause when the people get to dancing, they forget about taking sides.” Is it a bit innocent or even naïve? Sure, but there needs to be a bit more of that in music, and pop music in general, and this album is ready to induce plenty of dancing.

The band is propelling itself to a sold-out tour on the strength of first single “Shut Up and Dance.” Its guitar riff owes U2’s The Edge a few favors, but is impressive in its own right. Continuing on the opening tracks’ message of dancing and love, lead singer Nicholas Petricca provides the lyrics that any apprehensive, overthinking male can understand: Sometimes you do, in fact, just need to shut up and enjoy your surroundings.

Head banging and synthesizer don’t usually go hand-in-hand, but “Up 2 You” proves that they most certainly can. It is a fun track track, but not the lighthearted romp of the first half. Petricca goes through David Byrne–like vocal changes as he sings, “Our fever is running, and kings bow down through the bottom line.”

“Avalanche” feels like a guilty pleasure track that could easily have been on a Salvage Garden album in the ’90s. Walk the Moon proves itself to be the type of band with which you’re attempting to sing along before you’re even done hearing the songs. It’s infectious and happy to get you moving if your soul is willing.

Winner for most ’80s art-punk is “Spend Your $$$.” It’s glorious funk and driving drums with a climactic synthesizer solo and Petricca pondering, “I’m not sure what’s more disarming than fake breasts and miniature terriers.” It isn’t really necessary to say any more than that.

There are a lot of comparisons to be made from this band to their obvious inspiration—Walk the Moon even played a set of Talking Head songs at Bonnaroo under the alias Kaleidoscope Space Tribe—and so they are in on it. There is nothing that compares in technical skill and grandiose fun, so please: “Shut up and dance!” | Bruce Matlock

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