Album Review: Half Moon Run – Sun Leads Me On (LP 2015)

Canadian alt-folk band Half Moon Run released their sophomore album last week. After critical acclaim on their first LP Dark Eyes it seems Sun Leads Me On has searched for a lighter, brighter direction. Dabbling in synths, finger plucking and everything in between the 13-track album creates a diverse and wonderfully lyrical experience for fans old and new.

What they do hold onto in this new album is the fantastical guitar melodies brimming from the hands of Devon Porteilje and Conner Molander. You hear this immediately in “Warmest Regards” along with Dylan Phillips on drums. What really seals the deal on this one though is the intermittent trumpet section.

There is a great similarity between Half Moon Run and another Canadian folk but not folk band Timber Timbre. A dark otherworldly realm leaking out of the cracks of a heart is the best way to describe them both. Whether it’s felt in the vocals or the drums or just the spaces in between.

“Narrow Margins” moves to something lighter like Grizzly Bear. There’s massive reverb on the vocals and it implies just a very subtle hint of the psychedelics. Funnily enough, a lot of the album was written during a bit of a surfer holiday of sorts. This leads into the title track “Sun Leads Me On”. It makes beauty look easy and yet it’s still no masterpiece like “Full Circle” from their previous work.

The last quarter of the album seems to shed any dark reckonings of before and kicks into a super light and jaunty series of harmonicas and twanging guitars. “Devil May Care” particularly will bring a smile to your face. “The Debt” completely changes the scene into a synth-y whirlwind of harmonies and staggering percussion then finally “Trust” takes it higher, somewhere in the stars.

There have been mixed feelings about this approach for an album. In some ways they’re covering all their bases. In another’s eyes it might seem they’re just demonstrating or showcasing their diverse skill. In the end AU will let you be the judge on this one. Sun Leads Me On is available in stores and online now.

Review Score: 7.8 out of 10

Sun Leads Me On is out now.


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