There was certainly no shortage of competent and unimaginative indie rock in the late 2010s. But the debut album by the Big Moon – 2017’s Love in the 4th Dimension – swerved a landfill indie fate thanks to the band’s innate tunefulness and the assured songwriting of frontwoman Juliette Jackson. They snagged a Mercury nomination instead.
This second outing finds the Big Moon straining at the confines of the guitar band configuration. The first track released from Walking Like We Do – It’s Easy Then – dropped a big clue about the band’s chosen trajectory, with a soaring chorus and a video animation of the song’s central instrument: the piano. Take a Piece, meanwhile, channels 90s pop anthemics without shame.
Gnarly guitars have not been excised altogether – the twin attack of Jackson and lead guitarist Soph Nathan survives – but the band’s ambition is audible in the uptick in keyboards, horns, flutes and production values. Jackson, too, has grown more expansive and bittersweet: songs like Dog Eat Dog dissect human motivations with a caustic eye and there is an additional soupcon of Chrissie Hynde to her voice. No one could ever mistake this band for sonic outliers, even when they hit their distortion pedals, but Walking Like We Do sets the Big Moon up for much bigger, more mainstream things.