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coverpic flag Canada - Full Moon 237 - 12/25/15

Half Moon Run
Sun Leads Me On
Indica Records/Glassnote Records

'Half Moon refers to the two lunar phases commonly known as first quarter and last quarter.' (Wikipedia)

The Canadian, Montreal-based Half Moon Run formed five years ago and put out their debut album, Dark Eyes (Indica Records) in 2012. Here's their second album (released two months ago), and it seems that the quartet continue their warm, three-harmonic and percussive pop run. Half Moon Run (HMR) are Devon Portielje (on vocals, guitar and percussion); Conner Molander on vocals, guitar and keyboard); Dylan Phillips (vocals, drums and keyboard); and Isaac Symonds (vocals, percussions, mandolin, keyboard and guitar). They roam the soft rock/folk rock plains, and at times they sound like something near Radiohead meets Fleet Foxes (check the title track), with traces of Travis thrown in. Their songs are calming and soothing, but they do also present tunes being rougher and driving, such as the speeding, Kraut-rhythmed "Consider Yourself". The opening "Warmest Regards" is a Beatles/Belle & Sebastian-like, flute-driven warm and gentle song. The Fleet Foxes reference shines and glimmers on a song like "I Can't Figure Out What's Going On", where the sweet vocal harmonies and the soft/rough guitar changes lifts the song rather elegantly. The sunny "Hands in the Garden" also makes me think of The Trash Can Sinatras in their prime pop mode. Same goes for a song like "Turn Your Love".

HMR unveil a bunch of sweet pop songs, but they also launch a variety of nifty arrangements. They also present songs that differ from the regular pop formula, such as the Radioheadish tracks "Narrow Margin" and "It Works Itself Out". 13 songs might be a couple too many, but in all Sun Leads Me On is a pleasant listen. That said, the short, instrumental piano-tune "Throes" gives a nice 'break' 2/3rds throughout the album. The warm glow of the album is indeed a strength, as is the colourful vocal harmonies. Another point is the variation within their song writing/song performance/arrangements - like with "Trust", being something up Caribou's alley. Almost. Sun Leads Me On is good, but it's not a mind-blowing album.

PS! I wonder what the 'Run' is about. I doubt that it's a run for a Half Moon party on Ko Pha Ngan, Thailand. I also doubt it's a run to reach the excellent, classic pub (been there only once, but, hey...) The Half Moon, in Putney, London. Well, only HMR can tell, I guess.

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