Walk the Moon is an indie rock band from Cincinnati, Ohio. The band was started in 2006, and the current members are lead vocalist and keyboardist Nicholas Petricca, bassist and guitarist Kevin Ray, drummer Sean Waugaman, and guitarist Eli Maiman.
The group rose to fame with their song “Shut Up and Dance” and “Different Colors” from their second studio album, ‘Talking is Hard’. They have been nominated for 3 AMAs, have performed at Lollapalooza, and opened for the likes of Weezer and Panic! At the Disco.
2017 brought their newest album, ‘What If Nothing’. This record is a clear departure from their more traditional rock sound with some synthesizer support in ‘Talking Is Hard’. Now, the synth runs the show. The singles from this album are “One Foot,” “Headphones,” and “Surrender.” Unfortunately, however, none of them have caught the same, or even close to, the amount of traction as “Shut Up and Dance.”
‘What If Nothing’ is a very well-produced album. In all of the songs, the vocals are not competing with the instrumentals, so everything is mixed rather efficiently. I enjoyed the use of panning in “Can’t Sleep (The Wolves),” and the use of delays in “All I Want.” “Headphones” was littered with effects, such as the crackly synth in the beginning, a filter over the vocals, and distortion over the guitar to give a grungy, 90s rock feel.
Most of the record has a modern 80s feel, even more than their previous record. “Kamikaze” sounds a little pop/hip hop, which was rather different for Walk the Moon. It was very radio and party friendly. “Feels Good to Be High” was a funky little number that definitely gave me a blend of 70s and 80s vibes; 70s towards the beginning and 80s throughout the rest of it. “Lost in the Wild” is probably one of the brightest songs on the album, which made it one of the most similar to ‘Talking Is Hard’ next to “One Foot” and “In My Mind, which were both upbeat, danceable tunes.
Although this album is fun, the overall feel of the album is pretty dark. While their other work is sunnier and more cheerful, ‘What If Nothing’ is primarily composed of navy blues and dark purples. A galactic dreamy vibe encircles all of these songs, probably because of the overwhelming amount of synth that floats through all of it. They all remind me of night and space, which is very soothing and relaxing.
Sadly, most of the songs on this record sound relatively the same. There were moments when I was listening to this album that I could not tell when one song ended and the next one started. A majority of them faded in with a synth, remained pretty much at the same dynamic level the whole time, and then faded out some sort of chanting vocals.
Both “Tiger Teeth” and “Sound of Awakening,” for example, drag on for too long. The former is 5:23, and the first minute and a half is spent with a synth quietly moving back and forth throughout the field, which was long enough for me to lose attention. The latter is 6:23, and it doesn’t really go anywhere the whole time.
Overall, however, ‘What If Nothing’ is a good album. Its biggest drawback is the lack of variety among all of the songs. It is produced rather skillfully, and although I do like the songs, none of them really stood out from the rest.