Updated: Sep 21, 2020
Following its release in 2016, The Big Moon's debut album, Love in the 4th Dimension, was shortlisted for the 2017 Mercury Prize. That's not a bad nomination to receive on your first go. But that also made making their 2nd album an even bigger project than it is for most bands; though they all have the "can they do it again" pressure, that pressure is slightly heightened when your first album received such high praise.
Well, if the London four-piece did feel that pressure, it doesn't show on this album. Walking Like We Do is a beautifully constructed slice of Indie Rock, which makes up in quality what it lacks in innovation. While it's not a whole lot we haven't heard before, it's so enjoyable that it doesn't matter. In fact, the roots of this album are firmly planted in the 1990s, a fact made abundantly clear by the music video to one of the album's standout tracks, 'Take a Piece', which was filmed in non-HD 4:3 and sees the members of the band wearing distinctly 90s clothing.
It should be noted that there are fewer distorted guitars this time around, a little less bite on the songs in favour of a slightly more mainstream sound. That's not detrimental to the album in any way; rather, it's just a small change of course for the band. After all, change is necessary and the survival of an artist often relies upon it. Instead of those guitars, this album sees an increase of pianos, of horns and flutes. It's also more polished than their previous efforts, with producer Ben Allen adding his experience to good effect.
In this period of music history, where much of the music is rather downbeat, a throwback to a brighter time actually feels fresh. The bouncy essence of the music is a stark contrast to much of the modern chart playlists, almost acting as a middle finger to not only the darker music, but also the rather bleak world we currently live in. It's a summer album released in January. Stick this on again on a hot July day and it'll fit in with its setting as much as a bee on a sunflower.
It's a high-quality album throughout, which makes it difficult to highlight specific songs. That's always a good problem; it's better to make it hard by producing a great album all the way through, rather than vice versa. At a push, the aforementioned 'Take a Piece' and 'Your Light' are both songs which will end up on playlists a-plenty in the next few weeks.
Is it worthy of a Mercury Prize? A gut instinct says no, but then aren't rewards essentially meaningless anyway? An artist's goal isn't to win awards, it's to produce music to be proud of, for people to enjoy, and on that level, this album is nearly flawless. It's a strong second showing from The Big Moon, who surely have a big decade ahead of them now.