Half Moon Run – Dark Eyes

June 12, 2012 No comments
Written by Meryl Howsam

 

★★★★★

You’d never guess that Dark Eyes, released just a few months ago, was Montreal trio Half Moon Run’s debut album. The band’s intricate and experimental arrangements have already led to comparisons with Radiohead, Fleet Foxes, and Brasstronaut — which, while potentially flattering, don’t quite seem to hit the mark.

Each song on Dark Eyes differs in style from the next, culminating in an overall moody, atmospheric, and vaguely catchy feel that makes the multiple listens fun. And boy, can these guys play. And sing. Devon Portielje’s powerful lead vocals are consistently backed by bandmates Conner Molander and Dylan Phillips, creating harmonies which, layered against inventive guitar lines, keys, and percussion, result in an impressively full sound for a three-piece. Drummer Phillips also plays keyboards (often simultaneously with drums, according to the band label’s website), and Portielje and Molander shuffle between guitars, keys, samplers, and percussion.

The opening track, “Full Circle,” is the catchiest tune on the album. “Need It” is a swingy ballad that might make you feel like you’re at a high school dance in the 90s. My personal favourite is “She Wants to Know,” a haunting track that encompasses the best of band’s abilities. What Half Moon Run lack in numbers, they make up for in musicianship and creativity.

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