Short Stroll the Moon
By Eric Webb
The scene: my car. The time: night and day. The position of my thumb on my iPod: on the “back” button. The song: “anywayican” off of Walk the Moon’s new Tightrope EP.
I loved the Cincinnati quartet’s self-titled, major-label debut like I love my own child. (Author’s note: I don’t have a child.) A treasure trove of intoxicating hooks, breezy feel-good lyrics and boisterous beats, Walk the Moon is what some would call a guilty pleasure. Shame in your own music taste, though, is a sign of low self-esteem, poor moral fibre, and a tendency toward shoplifting. Delightful dance rock doesn’t require an excuse.
With no guilt and only pleasure, Tightrope EP takes the obvious standout track from last year’s album (“Tightrope,” natch) and tacks on a few new recordings, an acoustic version of the title track, and a live cover of Talking Heads’ classic “Burning Down the House.” Normally, a bite-size EP like this wouldn’t merit a full review. I don’t celebrate Christmas everyday either, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop buying a tree on the rare occasion it does.
The crown jewel of Tightrope EP is unquestionably an album B-side, “anywayican,” a rhythmically quirky ode to chasing a maybe/maybe not requited love. It’s sweet and maybe a bit sexy, and singer Nicholas Petricca sells the heck out of it. With equal parts subtle soul and falsetto, he brings the inner-monologue-style lyrics to life. Petricca’s ratatat delivery of “anyway I can, anyway anyway I can” will stick to your skull, and if I were to ever describe a song as “quietly yearning,” it would be this one. Or Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes.” If you knew how much I love “In Your Eyes,” you would truly grasp the gravity of this situation: “anywayican” is my favorite song of the young year.
Walk the Moon keeps it playful on “Tete-a-Tete,” which is admirable both for its use of “Tete-a-Tete” as a title and for its insane pronunciation of the word “matador” about a third into the song. “Drunk In The Woods” is the weakest track (the Lady Edith of the EP, “Downton Abbey” enthusiasts), but it’s nevertheless a harmless garage rock outing.
A delightful acoustic take on the title track proves that song’s strength; it’s just as effective unplugged, buoyed by its own strumming guitar power. The aforementioned “Burning Down The House” cover is a fun inclusion, offering a grittier and funkier sound than anything found on last year’s album. Keep your fingers crossed for a little more of this business.
Even if Tightrope EP is a shameless cash-grab to ride the hype of Walk the Moon — and it probably is, because music is a business — it should be your preferred way of playing into RCA’s corporate interests. As an appetizer for a sophomore album, it’s delicious.