WALK THE MOON – What If Nothing (Album Review)

WALK THE MOON – What If Nothing (Album Review)

In Walk The Moon’s full decade of existence, it has released three studio albums—2012’s edgier-sounding self-titled, 2014’s ’80s New Wave–inspired Talking Is Hard, and the just-unleashed What If Nothing. Its relative prolificacy and consistency is very promising, considering the more highly competitive nature of the music industry in this time and age of digital music and social-media platforms. In fact, by the second album, the fast-rising American Indie band has already a number of chart-topping hit singles on its sleeves—“Anna Sun,” “Tightrope,” “Different Colors,” and the ubiquitous “Shut Up and Dance.”

Formed in 2006, in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States, Walk The Moon currently consists of Nicholas Petricca (lead vocals, keyboards, synthesizer), Kevin Ray (bass, backing vocals, guitar), Sean Waugaman (drums, backing vocals), and Eli Maiman (guitar, backing vocals). The quartet have once again been walking the stage of various venues, promoting this new, solid effort.

Released on November 10, 2017, on RCA Records, Walk The Moon’s third offering is a smooth continuation of its Alternative Rock/New Wave/Indie Pop combo sensibilities. It begins with “Press Restart,” whose Kraftwerk-ian intro builds up into a 2000s Guitar Pop angularity. This is followed by the cheer-type, power-driven, grungy rhythm of “Headphones,” the album’s second single that has a faint echo of The Fall (“Cruiser’s Creek”) and Long Fin Killie (“The Heads of Dead Surfers”). Then there is the first single, “One Foot,” which builds on the Dance Rock/Pop Punk–style of “Shut Up and Dance,” followed by “Surrender” in the same pulse and heartbeat.

Another punchy stomper comes in the form of “All I Want.” Then, the midtempo “All Night” slows down the mood yet carries the album’s overall dancefloor groove. A change of pace and style, the soulful and R&B-flavored “Kamikaze” may remind the initiated of the smooth swagger of Maroon 5 (“Moves like Jagger”).

“Tiger Teeth” and “Sound of Awakening” fit well the kind of Synthpop balladry that recalls Ultravox (“Vienna”), Midge Ure (“Dear God”), and Alphaville (“Sounds like a Melody”)—metronomic, robotic, indulgent. With “Feels Good to be High,” Walk The Moon returns the listener to the center of the same discothèque occupied by Duran Duran during the classic English band’s Red Carpet Massacre phase.

Hypnotic guitar flourishes, funky bassline, choppy rhythm, and simple yet standout synthesizer embellishments best describe “Can’t Sleep (Wolves).” On the other hand, the ensuing “In My Mind” will surely make Sting and the rest of The Police proud; that is, if the trio consider having inspired young and new bands a compliment; and any millennial Indie Popster will be happy to play it alongside songs by the likes of Panic! At the Disco (“I Write Sins Not Tragedies”) and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (“When I Dance with You”).

Finally, Walk The Moon closes What If Nothing aptly with the bundle of sonic joy “Lost in the Wild,” which will definitely make New Wavers – from the good ol’ Simons to the flowery Brandons – lose their sense of abandon as soon as they have surrendered themselves to the shimmering sound and style of this swansong.

Its latest trajectory proves that Walk The Moon has not lost the chops to catapult itself further not only onto the moon of awards and accolades but also into the pantheon of shiny Pop/Rock stars. CrypticRock gives What If Nothing 4 out of 5 stars.

Purchase What If Nothing:

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aLfie vera mella
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Born in 1971, in Metro Manila, Philippines, aLfie vera mella is a healthcare worker, singer/songwriter, and editor/writer. He was the frontman of the ’90s-peaking Philippine Alternative Rock / New Wave band Half Life Half Death, which released a full-length album and several singles on Viva Records. aLfie worked at Diwa Scholastic Press as an editor/writer of academic textbooks and supplementary magazines, focusing on Science & Technology and English Grammar & Literature. In 2003, aLfie migrated to Canada; he has since been living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He works full-time at a healthcare institution, while serving as the associate contributing editor of Filipino Journal—a local community newspaper in Winnipeg—tackling Literature, Languages, Cultures, Lifestyles, and Music. aLfie has been a music journalist since the mid-’90s for various print magazines as well as websites. He started writing album reviews for Cryptic Rock in 2015. In 2016, aLfie published Part One (Literature & Languages and Their Cultural Significance) of his Essay Series, Can You Hear the Sound of a Falling Leaf?; in 2021, his first book of poetry, Pag-íhip sa Dáhon ng Kahápon [Blowing Leaves of Yesterday]. In his spare time, he enjoys reading books and listening to music. aLfie is a dedicated father to his now 13-year-old son, Evawwen; and a loving husband to Kathryn Mella, who herself moonlights also as a writer aside from holding a degree in Bachelor of Arts, Major in Sociology.

  • Nonya Bizness
    Posted at 21:45h, 11 November Reply

    Spot on review. You articulated the thoughts in my head while listening to the album last night. I read the album review that some blowhard wrote for entertainment weekly, thank you for doing this album justice! All together a fun album

  • aLfie vera mella
    Posted at 20:25h, 12 November Reply

    Thank you very much for validating my assessment of this album. Thank you for appreciating my review of it. And thank you for inspiring me to keep up my writing style.

    Thank you!

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