With or without the facepaint, Cincinnati indie-rockers Walk the Moon‘s “Anna Sun” sounds like a party. More specifically, the sort of party we want to drive us into the melting 90-degree days that are upon us. The lead single off their eponymous new album —which hit shelves yesterday— – “Anna Sun” takes its name from a professor at Kenyon College who was inspiring, lead singer/keyboardist Nicholas Petricca tells us, and it tells a story about growing up. The song mourns a race lost, a house falling apart, an a time when summer could erase it all. And then, over sun-drenched synths, the chorus signals a charge regardless. “We’re gonna rattle this ghost town,” Petricca sings in a falsetto that recalls the Killers’ Brandon Flowers. And “Anna Sun” is going to rattle our summer.
In the video for “Anna Sun,” Walk the Moon used facepaint to give the project a feeling they describe as “Peter Pan and the Lost Boys, Neverland sort of vibe.” Forever after, though, it’s like the paint hasn’t quite washed off. Instead, it’s kind of become their thing. “We tried to recreate the video in a live setting, and it was just so much fun that we did it again and people started coming to shows in facepaint,” Petricca says, warning also that unknowing concert-goers might get a pre-show, endoctrinating slather. “It’s kind of a thing to get you energized and ready to go,” explained bassist Kevin Ray.
Despite performing on the Late Show With David Letterman AND in front of a sold-out crowd at New York City’s Mercury Lounge last night, these four Ohio boys showed up to our Times Square offices bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. And soon as the driving beat of “Anna Sun” hit, we fell immediately into the performance, which was pared-down slightly from the album version — less synth, more thump, all the same soaring energy. “We want it to be fun,” Petricca says. “We want the record to be a party as much as the concert is.” The facepaint may be optional, but the fun? That’s inescapable.