Throughout our lives, we’re plagued with questions. As we get older, we have a tendency to hope that life’s questions will become simpler or that the answers will come to us easier, but over time we tend to realize that’s not the case. We may find ourselves faced with these same questions time and time again and while we might not find the answers we expect in the places we were looking, the process of searching within ourselves might be just what we need to move forward. Much of Walk The Moon’s forthcoming album What If Nothing is written from the perspective of someone who’s going through a breakup, but rather than focusing on the relationship that just ended, the album tells a tale of self-discovery and the exploration of whatever may lie ahead.
Formed while vocalist Nicholas Petricca was in college, Walk The Moon initially gained recognition with “Anna Sun” in 2010. A few years later they broke out on an even bigger level of success with “Shut Up and Dance”, but while the song brought them in front of larger audiences than ever before, there was a disconnect between casual listeners, who knew the single, and the band’s dedicated fanbase, who knew every song. They took time off from the road following the death of Petricca’s father, and when they reconvened to write what would become What If Nothing, found themselves with the opportunity to start over and redefine who they are as a band.
When it came time to introduce the world to a new era of Walk The Moon, there couldn’t have been a better choice than “One Foot”, a foot-stomping anthem that urges the listener to take the first step forward. While this message of empowerment and motivation has always been a part of Walk The Moon’s music, it’s portrayed clearer than ever this time.
Following the release of the vibrant and frenetic “Headphones”, Walk The Moon shared “Surrender”, a ballad surrounded by electronic beats. The song sees Petricca digging deep into his emotions, and marks the first time Walk The Moon have released a slower song as a single. It’s on these slower songs where the band truly shines: on “Tiger Teeth”- an epic, nearly five and a half minute long track- he accepts the inevitability of pain when giving yourself to someone fully, but also leaves open the possibility that one day he’ll breathe easy again.
With a focus on wide-open electronic landscapes, What If Nothing is largely (though not completely) without the new wave influences of Walk The Moon’s previous releases. This time they bring straightforward rock and roll (“Headphones”, “Feels Good To Be High”) and explore new song structures (“Press Restart”, “Sound Of Awakening”). Where the album falters, however, is in its track listing: though some highlights like “Tiger Teeth” and “Lost In The Wild” are hidden within, with the first three singles located back-to-back at the beginning of the record, it feels rather front-heavy.
On “All I Want”, which blends influences from funk and new wave, Petricca finds himself questioning if all of the things he wants (like more money or more sex) would make him happy, before realizing he’s got to find happiness within himself and become his own best friend. Walk The Moon have always known who they are as a band and on What If Nothing, they’ve done their best job yet of showing that to the world. Always known for being able to uplift and motivate listeners, this time around they’ve chosen to take that positivity with them and dive headfirst into the unknown. While they’ve yet to come out the other side, perhaps embracing the depths they’re in is all the reassurance they need.
Walk The Moon will release What If Nothing on November 10 via RCA Records. The band will hit the road with Company of Thieves for the Press Restart Tour this winter; head to their website for album pre-orders and a list of tour dates.