On July 23rd, Canadian indie pop band Walk Off The Earth released their sixth full-length studio album, Meet You There. Featuring the singles “Love You Right” (which features “Danish pop group” Lukas Graham), “Nicknames” (with gnash), “Oh What A Feeling,” “Anthem,” “How it is,” “this is love,” and “Farther We Go,” Meet You There is the return for Walk Off The Earth following their 2019 album, Here We Go!
Meet You There is pretty standard indie pop. All the songs have interesting pieces of production, and while most of the lyrics don’t necessarily invoke any emotion, the hooks are catchy and the songs are clearly heartfelt. Some of the highlights of the album include “Farther We Go,” “Anthem,” and “How it is.” Pretty much all of the songs on this album are about love in some capacity, and they all have moderately clever metaphors.
Right from the top, “Oh What A Feeling” has that rhythm in the verse vocals – I admittedly don’t know what it’s called, but it’s close to Scotch snaps – that worms its way into a listener’s ear. That syncopation in the vocals coupled with the four-on-the-floor drums (which later give way to some trap drums that then revert to the four-on-the-floor) make it an earworm. Even with its catchiness, it didn’t make it onto my aforementioned “highlights.” That’s only because the highlights I did mention fit that “catchy earworm” mould a little bit more.
“Farther We Go” has that similar Scotch snap-esque rhythm – it could just be called syncopation, but it’s a very specific kind of syncopation – in the vocals, and the instrumental is centered around an acoustic guitar and atmospheric synthesizers. Furthermore, the group vocals on the chorus call back to the early 2010’s indie-pop scene, when Walk Off The Earth first burst onto the scene. While group vocals have not fallen out of style, they do tend to bring a listener back to one point in time, and in the modern canon, group vocals were most popular in the early-to-mid 2010’s. Not only that, but the melody of the song doesn’t have many crazy octaves. It stays relatively simple in the intervals between notes, and that helps it feel more accessible for the casual listener.
“Anthem” is on the highlights list because of the vocal performance. The keyboards keep a steady groove with the drums, but Gianni Nicassio’s vocal performance is what gives “Anthem” its power. While the music is not necessarily anthemic, Nicassio’s performance calls back to stadium anthems of, again, the early 2010’s. Walk Off The Earth’s power is that they can bring a listener back to where they were when the band first burst onto the scene, and “Anthem” is one of the best examples of this.
Finally, “How it is.” Why is this a highlight? Because of all the reasons I have mentioned for the other two highlights, but also because it puts Sarah Blackwood at the front for most of the song. While her vocals have been present the whole album, giving her the spotlight reminds the listener that this is a full band. What started off as Nicassio’s primary creative outlet has become something bigger, and the band is better off for it.
That’s not to say Nicassio isn’t an important piece of the band. Far from it. He is integral to the band’s success. However, when Blackwood takes the lead, those songs still have the same sound, yes, but they feel incredibly different. That’s part of the reason why “How it is” is a highlight instead of, say, “Love You Right.” While both feature lead vocals from Blackwood, “Love You Right” was more of a foray into modern indie-pop, and while it works to a degree, it doesn’t work as well as “How it is.” “How it is” features the more natural instrumentation that Walk Off The Earth is known for, and they are better off when they use it.
However, we have to give credit where credit is due: they’re trying new things on songs like “Love You Right.” Artists should never be pigeonholed and put into a box that they have to create in for the rest of their careers. When they try new things, even when they don’t necessarily have the full intended effect, they need to get some credit. So this is me giving Walk Off The Earth credit for trying something new.
Of course, let us know what your thoughts are on Meet You There in the comments below! We’ll embed the album to make it easy to find, and we hope that what was said here is coherent. Walk Off The Earth has tried new things and stuck to some tried-and-true methods here, and both methods need to be acknowledged for creatives as valid.