Two months on from TRNSMT Festival’s director Geoff Evans’ foolish claim that women needed to “pick up guitars”, London indie rock female four-piece The Big Moon have effectively hit back with their second album Walking Like We Do. Just as with their 2017 debut Love in the 4th Dimension, they proved something few of us needed persuading of: women rock.
Walking Like We Do is a change from their debut. It feels softer, still fun but has more vulnerable moments that were not necessarily present back in 2017. The album release follows several years of constant touring and is no longer about falling in love, but about burnout and coping with constant displacement. The first two singles both seem upbeat, but the lyrics are fairly somber. In ‘It’s Easy Then’, lead singer Juliette Jackson laments “I just wanna rewind / To the start”, whilst in ‘Your Light’ she speaks of relying on someone else to find light in times of darkness. Having seen the band perform these two songs live at Green Man 2019, and again at their album launch at Headrow House on the 16th January 2020, I can certainly confirm these songs are still bops live, but they carry a heavy heart. However, for an album about life’s uncertainties, the band have never sounded so secure as musicians.
This security has led not only to a commendable delve into more complex topics, but more intriguing instrumentation. Two highlights for me are ‘Barcelona’ and ‘Waves’. ‘Barcelona’ starts with a scalic woodwind pattern that would have seemed out of place on Love in the 4th Dimension, but here it complements this change of tone for the band. ‘Waves’ is more piano driven and spotlights the vocals and the harmonies, only building in texture towards the end. This one is just sad and there’s not beating around the bush. Despite this, I can really see it being a strong moment in their live show as it allows the band to work together vocally.
I do not think everyone will welcome this change in pace, but that’s the same when any band tries to develop their artistry. I do believe this album has cemented them as musicians rather than general crowd pleasers.