08/21/2015

To the moon and back

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There’s a wave of relief and excitement that comes over you when you realize that Walk the Moon isn’t a one hit wonder band.

Way before Shut Up and Dance was even a thing, Walk the Moon (composed of Nicholas Petricca on vocals and keyboards, Eli Maiman on guitar, Kevin Ray on bass and Sean Waugaman on drums) has been churning out consistently high quality singles like Anna Sun and Tightrope, which were all catchy enough to get adequate radio play, but lacked the saccharine swing needed to break into the mainstream. People who’ve only heard Shut Up and Dance — a song about getting dragged to the dance floor that still manages to sound fresh, despite every dance floor song that has ever existed — might be surprised to know that these dudes have three albums under their collective belt. But beyond the whole concern of why we haven’t gotten into these guys sooner, Walk the Moon’s success gives way to the comforting belief that in an age of virality and spotlights leaving as quickly as they came, musicians can still grind their way towards worldwide recognition. Walk the Moon has worked hard — and played hard — to be here.

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Those who proclaim Walk the Moon’s latest album “Talking is Hard” to be an ode to 80’s rock and synthpop wouldn’t be wrong. Born from six weeks of chain songwriting while holed up in their North Hollywood studio, with some days spent tracking from dusk ‘till dawn, the whole album seems custom-designed to pull you out of the club and throw you into something more like a disco. Think Hall & Oates wedged on a martini glass, or Phil Collins blasted with paint balloons.

Walk The Moon's Eli Maiman on guitar.
Walk The Moon’s Eli Maiman on guitar.

And yet Walk the Moon doesn’t sound the least bit out of place among their musical contemporaries. Fans of bands like Phoenix, Panic! at the Disco (whom they’ve toured with), and even solo acts like Carly Rae Jepsen (who herself has always anchored her sound to the energy of 80’s pop) will find something to love about Walk the Moon. I’m placing my bets on Aquaman, off their latest album, to be the next single that gets everybody on their level.

It seems strange that a band responsible for what seems to be this year’s go-to dance rock anthem would be branded as an “indie band,” not discounting how ridiculously loaded the word “indie” has been since day one. But classification isn’t really a big deal for Walk the Moon. On whether it matters to them if people call them a pop band or an indie band, vocalist Nicholas says that genre labels don’t really matter.

Walk The Moon's Nicholas Petricca.
Walk The Moon’s Nicholas Petricca.

“I think the term ‘pop’ often gets kind of a bad rap, but really it just means ‘for the people.’ It just means something that lots of people can relate to,” he says. “We’ve been really inspired by rock n’ roll bands, by songwriters, like Coldplay or Green Day, these rock bands who’ve become worldwide. The music that they make doesn’t feel ‘poppy’ to me, it doesn’t feel like, cookie cutter or anything like that to me. It just feels like music. But it goes all over the world. And I guess that’s what we’re trying to do.”

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Walk The Moon’s Kevin Ray on bass.

One good guess for why Walk the Moon’s latest album is called Talking is Hard is because moving your body is so much easier. And maybe that’s the kind of band Walk the Moon is. Every song sports a hook that get beneath your skin, possesses your bones, and makes you move your feet whether you want to or not. It can’t be helped. What else is there to do? Talking is hard, so shut up and dance.

 

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You can catch Walk the Moon perform during the following dates and times: August 18, 6PM at Alabang Town Center, August 19, 5 PM at UP Town Center and 7:30PM and TriNoma, and August 10, 5PM at Market! Market! and 7:30PM at Glorietta Activity Center.

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