The second major-label-issued full-length outing from the crafty Cincinnati-based quartet, Talking Is Hard finds Walk the Moon doubling down on their predilection for neon-streaked '80s dance music with a 12-track slab of twisty, pulsating, yet always melodious Phoenix-, Jukebox the Ghost-, Bleachers-, and Foster the People-inspired indie pop that's as clever as it is tooth-decay inducing. Produced by Tim Pagnotta (Neon Trees, Matthew Koma) and mixed by Neal Avron (Weezer, New Found Glory), Talking Is Hard is a fevered road trip-ready mixtape in search of the perfect summer party house, albeit a domicile filled to the rafters with pretty, feathery-haired youths who have been poured into Calvin Kleins and are smoking Capris and knocking back vodka-spiked juice boxes instead of craft beer. Nowhere is that flair for John Hughes ephemera more apparent than the album's first single, "Shut Up and Dance," a pulsing, closing credits-ready anthem that oozes upbeat millennial enthusiasm, yet contains just enough angst to evoke a Breakfast Club post-lunch therapy session. Opening cut "Different Colors" also does a nice job of balancing the two persuasions, offering up a nice mix of Bastille-influenced, swirly electro-pop atmosphere and dense, heavily arpeggiated retro-fitted indie rock. In fact, that pretty much sums up the bulk of the album, with exceptions arriving via the slick, R&B-infused "We Are the Kids" and "Aquaman," the latter of which may have actually been recorded in 1984, but Walk the Moon are good enough at what they do and deliver their product with such confidence and verve that it's easy to forgive them their trespasses.
AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger