Personnel: Ian Blackwood, Adam Michael, Jason Simpson, Jaret Koop, Ben Rispin, Greg Taylor , Mike Eastick, Chuck Coles, Carm Milioto, Cam Wraight, Brandon Pascoa, Ashley Slaggett, Jessica Burch, Emily Bones, Danielle Macdonald, Mylie Taylor, Michael Zane, Kurtis Dickson, Karalea Pleau, Mary Deth, Tristan Britt, Chris Stacey, Robyn Pauhl (background vocals).
Recording information: B Town Sound, Burlington, Ontario; Luminati Production House, Burlington, Ontario; Noble Street Studio, Toronto, Ontario.
Photographer: Erin Blackwood.
Weaving a mélange of styles, even genres, and rhythms into a gumbo of entirely decipherable folksy pop, Walk Off the Earth follow their spirited major-label debut, R.E.V.O., with even bigger anthem choruses on Sing It All Away. It's an apt title for a collection of stadium-friendly singalongs, with most songs incorporating if not revolving around a nonsense-syllable chant similar in spirit to the ubiquitous "Olé, Olé, Olé" football/soccer cheer. With a clear mission to uplift throughout, the album manages to stay grounded in warmth (for the most part) rather than slide into drinking-song territory, with messages of personal encouragement and intimate moments, if not songs. The representative title track, itself about singing (er, and drinking), features solo male, solo female, harmonized, and group vocals; an "oh oh oh" chant; handclaps; and a big, catchy group chorus ("Sing it all away, my darling"), with the tenderer solo vocals and lyrics about overcoming your worries providing a way in for listeners to connect. "I'll Be Waiting" offers bits of the Mumford & Sons foot-stomping banjo sound mixed into another football anthem ("Ay-oh, oh, ay-ay, oh-oh") and another feel-good message ("Till the sun burns out/Till the stars fall/I'll be waiting here for you"). A trumpeted opening leads to reggae beats and a processed pop anthem chorus ("They say no way/I say I'll rule the world") on the chanty, celebratory "Rule the World," whereas "Home We'll Go" opens gently with whistling, slide guitar, and banjo suggesting a countrified Peter Bjorn and John before a four-on-the-floor banjo solo yields an off-kilter, Irish step-dancing interlude. The jumble of styles, rhythms, and references can be distracting or delightful, depending on point of view, but is a defining characteristic of the album. Also defining is the uplifting tone sometimes even spelled out in lyrics: "So we run to the trees when we want to go up/'Til we go so high that we never come down." To drive that point home, the record closes on an electrified reprise of "Home We'll Go," "Home We'll Go (Take My Hand)," featuring dance ace Steve Aoki. While attempting pop all-inclusiveness, Sing It All Away is more heavy-handed and not quite as fun as R.E.V.O. However, the songwriting is still full of memorable tunes, huge, climactic choruses, and a spirit of overcoming that is undeniably infectious. ~ Marcy Donelson