LP Review; WALK THE MOON: “What If Nothing”

“Press Restart” starts with a slow growing electronic tone that leads right into the first verse of the album that has a mixed sound of electronics and straight vocals. The band utilizes background vocals throughout this verse as well as the entire song, providing countermelodies that enhance the main vocal part. The instrumental part of this song is minimal, yet it provides the audience with a clean and concise groove that eases them into the album. In the middle of the song, the band presents a guitar motive with quieter vocals overlapping overtop of it, Overall, this song is quite catchy and a strong album opener.

“Headphones” starts with another electronic tone that builds up to the entrance of eclectic vocals. The initial genre that this song gives off is “New wave” band feel. This works well for this selection, for the band toys with that influence while evolving on that sound throughout the song. The instrumental part of this selection has a quicker foundation to it with spurts of electronics thrown in to interrupt the flow from time to time. The vocals of this selection build until the band arrives to their big instrumental interlude in the middle of the song. This interlude has the works: a guitar solo, a groove set by the percussive elements, odd electronic tones and semitones, and this all is later joined with the diverse lyrics to round out the piece. This is definitely a foreseen favorite of the album because it is completely different than anything that is being featured musically, at the moment.

“One Foot” starts with the background vocals singing “woah” that quickly smooths over to the lead vocals. The back-beat of the work is a tad slower than the previous track, but it falls directly in the spectrum of where a standard song would fall. During this song, the instrumental section toys with different sounds to enhance certain aspects of the melody. The vocal part of this song is quite pleasing to the ear and is very fascinating. The chorus of this work is one of those sections that makes listener’s want to tap their foot (no pun intended) and groove along with the band. The band does provide a middle section where they bring their melodic material down in dynamics, but they take that down to build it up bigger and better than before.

“Surrender” starts with another electronic tone that leads into a steady beat presented by the percussion section. On top of that beat, the band provides simple piano chords, which are eventually expanded into something more musically interesting. The vocal part of this work is generally slow and lyrical, but this is effective for the album because this selection gives the audience a song where they can relax and just sing along. Throughout the long lyrical sections sung by the vocalist, the band provides gentle countermelodies underneath to keep the song melodically interesting to the ear. The middle of this song drops down to basically nothing but the vocals and the percussive steady beat until the band resolves back to its original sound from the beginning of the song.

“All I Want” starts with an electronic group of sounds that resonate like the twinkling of a star. After this small interlude, the vocals are introduced with the percussive backbeat that establishes the groove of the selection. The vocals of this song bounce back-and-forth from regular vocals that have been heard on the album and spoken-word text. This spoken-word technique shows that this band has a wider diversity with what they can do musically, which helps makes their listener’s want to stay engaged. Near the end of the song, the band provides another guitar solo mixed with an instrumental interlude that has faint interjects of the spoken-word text. This song, in general, has a very new sound to it, which is very strong for the band.

“All Night” starts with an upbeat back-track that is led by the instrumental section. As the first verse comes in, it is heard that there is a steady beat that is portrayed through a low electronic tone. The chorus of this song is quite simple, but it is very memorable and easy to sing to. The band keeps the same motive throughout the remaining verses for the song. The vocals of this song span at the octave, this gives the audience a bit of variety vocally speaking. In the middle of the song, the band drops down in instrumentation to focus on the vocals, and the only melodic background material that is presented is clapping, which is retained until the end of the selection.

 “Kamikaze” starts with a groove from the very beginning that is established through the instrumental section paired with electronics. The vocals that enter at the beginning have a very smooth feeling to them because they are very connected and sung in the rich range of the vocalist. The genre of this song feels as if it is more alternative compared to the previous tracks on the album. This is effective for the band because it gives their audience a reason to stay engaged. Throughout the song, the band utilizes differences in instrumentation, for it sounds as if the band is using a few brass instruments as well as electronics. This song will likely be a foreseen favorite because it is memorable, and it sounds like it belongs on the radio for all of the right reasons.

“Tiger Teeth” starts with a low, ominous tone that slowly builds in intensity until it resolves to the first vocal entrance. This tone fluctuates in dynamics to help keep the momentum of the song going. The first lyrics that enter are sung in beautiful harmony, and they are shaped around the title of the track. This song feels as if it falls underneath the “ballad” format in regards to this album because it is slower than most of the songs presented on the album, it’s easy to sing to, and it very simple yet exciting to the ear.

“Sound of Awakening” starts with vocals from the beginning: the lyrics are sung in harmony with a mixture of straight vocals and electronically altered vocals. Throughout this beginning section, there is no instrumentation, this is effective because it allows the audience to focus on the meaningful lyrics, and it gives the album a completely different color than what has already been presented. From this beginning section, the band only adds minimal instrumentation, which establishes a faint groove that is driven from a mixture of percussive elements and electronics. In the middle of the song, the band brings the audience to a high point by building that motive by increasing in range and volume, but they eventually relax back down to the original minimal approach.

“Feels Good to Be High” starts with another upbeat back-track, which is a fresh shift from the previous track. The groove of the song hits in very early on in the selection, and that groove helps to drive the entire song. The melodic content of this song also gives off the “new wave” genre while staying in the alternative realm at the same time. This mixture is received well by the listeners because it provides them with material that hasn’t been heard before. The lyrics of this song aren’t too interesting, but the musical aspect of this song makes the audience remain engaged. The band includes another middle section that drops down, but it builds up quickly to another large instrumental interlude that drives back to the opening material.

“Can’t Sleep (Wolves)” starts with a small guitar motive that drives the instrumental material of the song. The vocals in the beginning of this song fall into the richer vocal range, which works well with the instrumentation because they blend well together. The background music is a mixture of electronic passages with the instrumental portion of the band. This work has a slight groove to it, this is a fresh sound for the audience because it gives them a song that isn’t heavily driven by the percussive portion; thus, a “lighter” song. In the middle of the work, the band provides an instrumental interlude that is small, but it gives the audience a blurb of a groove tune that is characteristic from their previous tracks; however, the band quickly moves back to the original feel of the song.

“In My Mind” starts with s percussion motive that is joined by faint vocals and the remainder of the instrumental section before the first verse fully kicks in. In the first verse, the instrumentation drops down, but the percussive motive remains constant: acting as the foundation of the groove. The chorus is memorable and catchy like the previous tracks on the album. The band toys with small musical ideas that phase in and out in of the background that catch the listener’s attention, but before they forget about one, another one appears. This is effective, for the lyrics of this song aren’t overly innovative, and the general groove of the song is pretty standard, so this helps to keep this selection fresh and new.

“Lost in the Wild” starts with an electronic motive that is like a twinkle that slowly increases in speed until the vocals enter. The vocals enter alongside piano chords that are in block formation. This mixture is very clean because they mesh well together, and it enhances the small tinkle motive from the beginning: like a glimmer. Once the second verse is introduced, the band finds their characteristic sound and drives that tone throughout the rest of the song. The chorus is simple, but it is fun to sing to. The middle of the selection builds in tension until it lands to a moment of silence that crashes back into the original material presented in the work. This is a smart final song because it isn’t too fast nor too slow; moreover, it sums up the different techniques and sounds used in this album and levels them out to make one grand selection.

 Final Thoughts: Overall, I would give this album a 4.5 out of 5 stars. This album is absolutely fantastic, and I considered giving it a 5 because of the innovation that lies in this album. WALK THE MOON pushes the limits of the genre that they fall into with this album in the best way. This band gives their audience electronics, over-the-top guitar solos and instrumental interludes, memorable and relatable lyrics, strong grooves, and they morph several different genres into something amazing throughout the entire album. Furthermore, if you are just looking for an amazing piece of work, this album is for you

*”What If Nothing” was released on November 10, 2017 through RCA Records.

6 thoughts on “LP Review; WALK THE MOON: “What If Nothing”

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