When embarking on their sophomore record, principle Big Mooner Juliette Jackson had something of an epiphany when writing the album. The group’s lynchpin reflects back on the first shoots of ‘Walking Like We Do’ with a profound confidence but one that’s borne from gut reactions and instinct “for a while I think I was writing songs that were more like those on the first album (the exquisite ‘Love in the 4th Dimension’) because I felt like that’s what we should do. But after six months I knew I wanted it to be sonically bigger, deeper, wider and more spacious than a rock album. We wanted to let the songs breathe a bit more. And while we still wanted it to have energy and all the right feelings, we just wanted to be more creative with how you conjure a mood”. Citing Vampire Weekend, Solange, James Blake and Frank Ocean as inspiration, the foursome have about-turned from the indie-grunge rock on their debut for something more keyboard, drum machine and piano-led but with a quirkiness from the luminaries they drew influence from.
The essence of assuredness and going with their gut is palpable on The Big Moon’s second offering; on the defiant ‘A Hundred Ways to Land’, framed by choppy new wave piano, strung out guitar twangs and heartbeat thumps, Jackson trills out the song’s hook with a clenched fisted determination “feel your blood flowing / stand up taller in your boots / we don’t know where we’re going / but we’re walking like we do” which is then punctuated by a bubbling layer of horns and shuffled drum licks. ‘Don’t Think’ a song that sashays through a myriad of shifting sounds; isolated piano, fizzing electronics and a delightful tip-toed strut, acts as a meta microcosm of ‘Walking Like We Do’, sonically, thematically and its inception, “just don’t think about it now or your head will talk you out of it” bellows Jackson over the track’s rousing rock-indebted finale.
‘Walking Like We Do’ broadens its themes, like a bird’s eye view on humanity; there’s still the tales of love, longing and relationships from ‘Love in the 4 th Dimension’ while twinned with their observations on society and
the pressures of modern life. Encased by drum machine throbs, short piano bursts and a playful, almost toy- like sound, ‘Your Light’s celestial glow envelopes the notion of realising the world isn’t ours for the taking, like
what we’d been told as children “why do you have to take it all so hard on yourself / we were promised the world / the same as everyone else”. The pertinent line of “every generation probably thought they were the last” quantifies that notion of uncertainty, most appropriately in these troubled times. Instead of using the analogy of not seeing the wood for the trees, The Big Moon have opted for using the crashing of surf when it comes to being blindsided by something “I never saw the tide come in / I only saw the waves” as Jackson’s voice is supported by a solitary trill of piano before swelling into a choral hue of celestial voices. A theatrical ripple jiggles through ‘Holy Roller’ a song that carries a hip-hop influence, as the band’s leader purrs “I’m going to start a religion / something to keep my hands busy”. This all comes to a climax via an operatic, rock eruption. A beat driven, hip-hop vibe also anchors ‘Why’, along with sonic DNA that morphs from taut to fluid and back again over the song’s duration. A caring hand is extended to someone in need as Jackson remarks “when did you get so shy / you’re not yourself tonight”. Dreamy indie rock supports one of the most loving moments on ‘Walking Like We Do’, the song’s chorus is entwined with Jackson’s impassioned vocal as she states, “take a piece of me / put me on the pages of your life story”.
Creatively free, assured but vulnerable, poppy yet innovative; we should all take a leaf out of The Big Moon’s
book and starting walking like they do.
Words and Thought of Adam Williams
Walking Like We Do comes out on Jan 10th via Fiction Records