ALBUM REVIEW: The Big Moon - Walking Like We Do
The Big Moon are a Juliette Jackson-fronted London four-piece rock band, or they *were* until they pulled an Alex Turner on us all, coming out of the dark three years on from debut album Love In The 4th Dimension with a thoughtfully composed, piano-heavy soft rock LP. Recorded over in Atlanta, Georgia, the fast, meaty overdrive of that debut is almost gone but it proves to be a very effective decision, providing Walking Like We Do the chance to sound out a thoroughly mature character, particularly when considering its place in the group's (still) blossoming career.
Opening track 'It's Easy Then' doesn't muck about with any pretence of this record being a continuation of the sound established back in 2017, starting with piano chords sat firmly at the front of both the mix, and consequently, our attention. If that wasn't clear enough of a thesis statement for the album's direction, perhaps lyrics as on-the-nose as "I'm just waiting for the piano to fall, braced for an opening trapdoor" in the tune's prechorus are clear enough to prove this work's focus on a new sound, perhaps shedding the restraints of guitar-heavy music. It's a great song and an excellent opening to the album.
'Your Light' drives a little harder, but along with 'Dog Eat Dog' these second and third tracks admittedly don't really do too much for me, they're passable, but I doubt I will be returning to these tunes when compared to other gems from this release. Thankfully with 'Why' we have an excellent exhibition of placid piano-rock smoothness, which should satisfy any listener affording it the attention it deserves. Shades of Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino surface in the rippling spring reverb from lead guitarist Soph Nathan and staccato piano chords not too dissimilar from Arctic Monkeys' 'One Point Perspective', but that's hardly bad company to keep.
'Don't Think' sounds a little more like old-school The Big Moon though still washed with this new approach to the group's songwriting. 'Holy Roller' is playful: "I'm gonna start a religion, something to keep my hands busy" being a lyrical highlight. 'Take a Piece' is good stuff, as are the following 'Barcelona' and 'A Hundred Ways To Land', though the latter of these two does feature perhaps a less engaging vocal performance from Jackson. When compared to her other work here on Walking Like We Do the vocal melody featured does not do much to stamp creativity on the song, particularly when the titular "walking like we do" features so prominently with a comparatively uninteresting vocal performance. Closer 'ADHD' takes a while to kick into gear, but when it does it proves an excellent end to the album in its final minute or so.
The album is no groundbreaker, but it will likely prove a crowd-shaker for the future. The songs are enjoyable, the lyrics are often pleasantly playful and the production is consistently tight from producer Ben H. Allan III. The album starts out strong, wobbles a little between great and forgettable at times, but sticks the landing with a nice combination of soothing soundscapes and occasional bursts of distorted guitar throughout. Get some of this in your playlists.
- 7.0 -
'It's Easy Then', 'Why', 'Don't Think'
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