Album Review: TALKING IS HARD

Following a successful EP and first full-length album, WALK THE MOON debuted “TALKING IS HARD” last Friday. The Cincinnati-based indie pop band was formed by lead singer Nicholas Petricca in 2008. Guitarist Eli Mainman, bassist Kevin Ray and drummer Sean Waugaman make up the rest of the quartet. Currently ranked in the top twenty of iTunes album downloads, TALKING IS HARD offers a distinct energy with spirited tracks that could be compared to Phoenix or the 1975. Produced by Tim Pagnotta, who also worked with Neon Trees and Tokyo Police Club, the mood-lifting and bright album features twelve tracks with strong, passionate vocals from Petricca.

The album opens with “Different Colors,” a catchy and vibrant song that makes me dream of driving fast on the California freeways or getting ready for a night out. It moves on to the pulsing popular single, “Shut Up and Dance” which serves as the album’s party and dancing anthem. Fans of the band’s first hit, “Anna Sun” will enjoy the upbeat “Shut Up and Dance.”

Perhaps the most surprising tracks are the slower and more mellow “Aquaman” with lyrics that explore going into love “head first,” and the electronic and gradually building “Down in the Dumps.” Other standout tracks include the rhythmic “Come Under the Covers,” a swirling blend of vocals and guitar that laments the end of summer and “We Are the Kids,” which features sounds reminiscent of MGMT’s debut album, “Oracular Spectacular.”

With 69,500 Instagram followers and 104,000 Twitter followers, the band has cultivated an online presence to support their new album. In a recent interview with LA Music Blog, Maiman told said the band worked to “maintain some of the spirit from the first record.” However, he said that some of the tracks prove “more ferocious than anything we’ve done before” while others offer “moments of more vulnerability than we’ve ever put on a record before.” Petricca added that the band enjoyed exploring “more intense, globally conscious issues” in their lyrics.

TALKING IS HARD certainly feels more emotional and meaningful and than the band’s debut self-titled WALK THE MOON, as tracks mourn growing up and also try to inspire listeners to consider issues in their communities and in the world.

Although WALK THE MOON’s December show in Inglewood is already sold out, the band will return to Southern California for a series of shows in mid-March. They will tour with Sydney-based indie-pop band, The Griswolds.