The eponymous sophomore outing from melodious, heavily carbonated, Cincinnati-based dance-pop quartet Walk the Moon occupies the same neon-splashed, hyper-literate head space as high-energy bands like Phoenix, Passion Pit, and Foster the People. Led by frontman Nicholas Petricca, who can go from a nervous David Byrne wail to a glassy 90125-era Jon Anderson falsetto in a matter of seconds, the band’s slick blend of classic new wave, tech-savvy dance rock, and mathy indie pop can be jarring upon first listen, but multiple spins reveal an impressively tight unit that understands the thin line between immaculately rendered electro-art pop cacophony and hook-friendly modern rock. Produced by Ben H. Allen (Gnarls Barkley, Animal Collective), and featuring tracks from the group’s well-received Anna Sun EP, as well as new recordings of cuts from the 2010 full-length I Want! I Want!, Walk the Moon's best moments (“Anna Sun,” “Lisa Baby,” “Jenny”) hold fast to the band’s talent for crafting synth-heavy, fat, and percussive dancefloor gems, but what sets them apart from the works of some of their less substantive contemporaries is an element of Killers/Berlin-era Bowie melodrama that sneaks in when the listener least expects it. Ultra-quirky, sweaty-headband smart pop can sometimes feel a little like rocket science for dummies, but Walk the Moon manage to remain accessible to all reading levels with their clever lyrics, keen ear for an infectious melody, and penchant for unleashing moments of over-the-top musicality, without the slightest bit of studio trickery.
AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger