Walk the Moon puts new twist on old-school sound

By Sabreena Saleem

Talking may be hard for indie rock group Walk The Moon, but its third album, which was released Tuesday, proves making listeners dance is easy.

The album “Talking Is Hard” combines the energy from Walk The Moon’s self-titled album and “I Want! I Want!” with a whole new level of funk. While songs from previous albums like “Lisa Baby” and “Next In Line” are vaguely reminiscent of music from another era, Walk The Moon heads straight to the ’70s and ’80s with a unique twist in “Talking Is Hard.”

The album starts with a heavy bassline and a synthy, poppy blend of sounds from previous albums and shifts into an unexpected but contagious melody. One of the best words to describe Walk The Moon’s music is “colorful,” and by beginning the album with a familiar yet new sound in “Different Colors,” Walk The Moon shows listeners this album has the same colorful energy the band is known for with a different twist.

The next song, “Sidekick,” picks up the pace of the album, combining guitarist Eli Maiman’s fun electric guitar riffs with the sing-along lyrics the band is known for. It’s clear the members of Walk The Moon are having fun with their instruments and lyrics, just as they did in 2012 hits “Anna Sun” and “Tightrope.”

“Shut Up and Dance,” the first single released before the album, keeps the fast pace going, making it hard to sit still. It’s apparent through the melody and lyrics, like “my discotheque Juliet teenage dream,” that Walk The Moon is nodding at the disco days and having fun doing it. With a catchy chorus telling listeners to “shut up and dance,” Walk The Moon shows talking isn’t necessary while listening to this album.

“Up 2 U” is by far the band’s strongest song on the album and probably whole discography. Every instrument and band member is shown off beautifully, with masterful guitar riffs and an infectious beat. Lead singer Nicholas Petricca shows what a powerful vocalist he is and exhibits his range in a way he hasn’t before, skillfully alternating between high and low notes and shouting at all the right times.

Even more mellow tracks like “Avalanche” and “Portugal” make it difficult not to move, while upbeat tracks like “Work This Body” and “Spend Your $$$” make it impossible due to the high energy that comes along with the band’s sound.

One of the best things about Walk The Moon’s music is its ability to inspire listeners to get up and do something regardless of the weather outside. Songs like “Down In the Dumps” and “We Are the Kids” boast motivational lyrics like “you can throw all the fits and tantrums you want but I won’t let you bring, bring me back down.”

The album closes with another nod to the past in “Aquaman.” The first songs that come to mind when I listen to “Aquaman” are Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” and Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature.” From the style of Petricca’s singing to the melody he plays on keyboard, “Aquaman” seems to be influenced by artists like Boy George and Lionel Richie. Members of Walk The Moon clearly did their research before creating an album full of a nostalgic ’80s sound.

Overall, “Talking Is Hard” is a high-energy, eccentric record, and lyrics like “we take that old school fashion, shape it into something new” show members of Walk the Moon know exactly what they’re doing. The combination of inspiring lyrics, contagious melodies and strong instrumentals prove these Ohio natives can’t be dragged down.