Once in a blue moon I stumble across an artist or band who seizes me in a way that cannot be put into words – an artistic infatuation that cannot be denied and an enthusiasm that should not rest upon silent lips. Say hello to… Half Moon Run.
Half Moon Run are a ‘new folk’/indie trio who look set to take up where coveted folk heros, Mumford and Sons left off. This Canadian band currently call Montreal, Quebec home and are the perfect musical discovery for anyone who fell in love with the former, and who were left hanging [to this day] for a second studio album. Well the wait is over… kind of! Although Half Moon Run may be an entirely unrelated musical group, I do feel as though the ambience and emotion they stir in a crowd, fills the exact gap which has been left open and wanting for a fair while now. If Mumford and Sons are not careful, they could come back just in time to find out that they are no longer the cool kids on the playground…
So what do they sound like? Its hard to place it, because my friends heard modern influences, and then my mother heard similarities to bands from her youth. Fleetwood Mac, Simon and Garfunkel, Interpol, Air, Bob Dylan, Under the Driftwood Tree – all these names were suggested – but none lay exactly on par with the trios sound. One thing that I did appreciate however, was how this was one record myself, my friends and my mother’s generation enjoyed listening to! It seems that Half Moon Run are a band which go down well regardless of their listeners age. Something pretty rare!
Half Moon Run – “Call Me in the Afternoon”:
Dark Eyes is the bands debut record and is available in CD/digital download via Bandcamp or Amazon. It was released on 27 March and launched at Montreal’s infamous ‘Sala Rossa’ venue, to enthusiastic review. I myself was lucky enough to attend a more intimate affair in North London recently, when the band were en route between European Festival obligations. The album has gained media attention from the US/Canada festival set following performances at SXSW, M for Montreal, The Great Escape, and CMW – however it is a feat that their debut was ever finished! The bands relentless search for creative perfection meant that it took a long while for this record to come together. Drummer Dylan spoke to me of endless ‘workdays’ [“not jam sessions!”] of up to 13 or 14 hours at a time, where the three would hole themselves away from the world and build upon ideas together until the layers of the music assembled in a way that satisfied them equally.
These long days continued for months and months, with the band escaping to the confines of various writing rooms across Bohemian Montreal. One such space the band wrote at was the notorious ‘Torn Curtain’, which ended up being shut down by policemen a month after the groups departure!
In the long run, it must be said that the excessive A.C.D [Artistic Compulsive Disorder] of Devon Portielje, Conner Molander and Dylan Phillips serves them well; Dark Eyes is a work of art which holds Half Moon Run high above their comparative peers and is an impressive debut. The talent and musicianship of Half Moon Run is undeniable, their vocal harmonies riveting and haunting, and the boys themselves present themselves like a trio of Peter Pan-esque minstrels, dancing and moving in a way that makes you want to escape to wherever it is they are. All the press hype is very much deserved and I look forward to seeing how the rest of the year fares for this exciting young group.
© Ngawara Madison, Music Vice
The band are playing tour dates across Canada over the next few months, including a show at Lee’s Palace on 12 June, and appearances at Hillside Festival in Guelph, ON and Osheaga in Montreal, QC.
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