Embracive and rich with vitality in one breath, suffocating and inescapable in another, the guitar parts in Tiny World’s “Walk on Water” are as close to a nucleus as a composition can contain, and alongside some oaky vocals and melancholic percussive pulsations, they create a track that is awfully hard to put down once it’s been picked up for the first time. Tiny World are pulling out all the stops to give us a sample of what they can do when there’s nothing to stop their creativity from going in any and every direction in “Walk on Water,” and it’s getting the attention of critics around the country this season (myself included).
The rhythm in this track is infectious from the get-go, and makes use of a terrifically jagged, alternative country-influenced beat. There’s a pastoral quality to the distribution of the string melody at first, but by the time we get into the chorus, “Walk on Water” begins to sound like the adult contemporary hit it was always meant to be. The influences Tiny World have are clearly eclectic, but they aren’t clashing together here at all – if anything, they’re making this pairing of Scott Duncan and Steve Petrey sound all the more perfect for the eccentrically melodic times we’re living in.
In my first sit-down with “Walk on Water,” I couldn’t help but notice just how dark the harmony in the chorus is, mostly because of the violent interplay with the strings that leads us into its trademark hook. Out of nowhere, the song swallows us up whole and reduces its rhythm to a chugging stomp, as if to declare victory over a fallen foe before taking a victory lap around their mangled body. Some might see it as sonic overkill, but for what I look for in an experimental pop song, this is about as well-thought out a track as I could have asked for.
The vocals could have used a little more volume towards the end of the song, but I can understand why Tiny World decided to go with a more stripped-down look on this front instead. In keeping the instrumentation at just a notch above the verses, we’re never allowed to get lost in the dreamlike cadence of the words, nor the narrative they’re so bluntly sharing with us. This is a multidimensional single, and if Tiny World had it their way, I think they’d have all of us take in each element within “Walk on Water” one gilded fragment at a time.
This band might not be the most radio-ready group that I’ve listened to in the year 2020, but I would be straight-up lying if I said that they weren’t making some beautifully incredible music worth writing home about in “Walk on Water.” Tiny World would be wise to try and experiment with their surreal side more than they did in their first record in their sophomore LP, because in songs like this one, they flirt with a Flying Burrito Brothers-type psychedelic edge that could potentially change things for adult contemporary music in a big way. They’ve got an interesting future ahead, and I’ll be staying tuned for sure.