Every note, every falsetto, every strum, every beat—they’re all captured here, amazingly.
I’ve seen WALK THE MOON once. It was from the lawn at Fiddler’s Green, and I knew nothing of the band except their debut single, “Anna Sun.” My unfamiliarity led me to pay only half attention; because of this, it was an enjoyable, it not memorable, show. Soon thereafter, the band released “Shut Up and Dance” from its sophomore album, Talking Is Hard (which has since been certified Gold by the RIAA). I got that and the self-titled debut and fell deeply into music love. The band returned to Denver late last summer and I so wanted to go—but I had to work. Oh, the injustice!
That’s why, when WTM dropped this live CD, I was ecstatic. Finally, my chance to experience the live show I’d been so cruelly denied. (Curse you, bills that need to be paid!)
After spinning the disc a number of times, I’m ready to make two assertions. One: The band translates amazingly well from studio recording to live performance. Every note, every falsetto, every strum, every beat—they’re all captured here, amazingly. And two: I’m sort of glad I didn’t see them live.
The 15-song set (the disc is 21 tracks, but don’t be misled: 6 of them are between-song chatter) provides a WTM best-of, a mixed tape of sorts, pulling songs from both Walk the Moon and Talking Is Hard. It’s nice to hear the tracks mixed up; on the album, of course, they’re always in the same order. It’s also wonderful, as I’ve mentioned, to hear how pristinely they’re captured. Every listen reminds me how much I love the music, and how great a band they are.
The drawback comes when ruby-throated singer Nicholas Petriccia speaks. I am not exaggerating when I say it’s cringe-worthy; he sounds like an absolute douche. (I’ve tried to find a less offensive term, and I really can’t come up with anything that captures my feelings quite as well as this.)
Issuing a live album is risky for a number of reasons, most important among them is that bands don’t often sound as good as we’re used to. While the studio recordings capture artists at their best, the live recording shows all of the flaws and weaknesses. Thankfully, WALK THE MOON excel in this arena. They sound great, which means they are as good as they sound—no autotuning, no enhancements.
Then there’s the between-song banter. Check out Matt Nathanson’s Live at the Point: The stories are funny, engaging, further endearing us to the artist. Not so here. Petriccia uses a false, Valley Boy–ish voice and says absolutely nothing of value. He makes me recoil rather than want to be there.
Music-wise, You Are Not Alone is a stunning A+; conversation-wise, though, it would be lucky to pass my class. A | Laura Hamlett