donderdag 31 oktober 2019

A Blemish In The Great Light. Half Moon Run

Half Moon Run slowly crept up on me to become one of my favourite bands of the 10s. The band takes its time to release a new album but when it does it is exactly right it seems.

It may be four years since 'Sun Leads Me On', the album is not forgotten. In fact, the vinyl version regularly has a spin in my home; to the great enjoyment of Mrs. Wo'. as well. The past week it was replaced by A Blemish In The Great Light. Half Moon Run has outdone itself it seems. Undoubtedly I am cursing in church to some writing the following, but the intricate (vocal) melodies remind me of The Beach Boys, so Brian Wilson.

Half Moon Run has worked out so many fine details, found melodies within melodies and stacked them in three and four minute pop songs like it is an extremely easy thing to do. It must be something in the Montreal water I guess. This week I listened to the new Patrick Watson, this spring to the new Jesse Mac Cormack, last year to the latest Arcade Fire. All albums have what A Blemish In The Great Light also has, an abundant pop feel, while doing everything, except taking the easy way out. Of the four, Half Moon Run may sound the most down to earth, there is no mistaking the complexity in its easy sounding songs. Call it the paradox contained within Half Moon Run.

All four members, Devon Portielje, Connor Molander, Dylan Phillips and Isaac Symonds, sing and are multi-instrumentalist, giving the band endless options that are fully used. Languorous piano playing inviting contemplation, heavenly harmonising and, every once in a while, a, piano or guitar, sting to keep the wordly qualities around. Add the quality of the songs and I present you one hell of a pop band.

Promo Photo: Yani Clarke
Being three albums into its career, 'Dark Eyes' was released first in 2012 and 2013, the band has found a level of songwriting that only shows so much promise. The other fact is of course that The Beatles recording career was over in the same time span. Is that a good or a bad thing where the development of the songwriting of Half Moon Run is concerned? We will never know. The other side to that story is the sheer quality and the modest though clear urgency of this album.

With The Beatles one of the major influences of Half Moon Run is mentioned. The Canadians are not as eclectic as the Fab Four could be in their songwriting, but certainly as dedicated as James Mercer of The Shins is to his music. This band does not need to dress up like Englishmen dressing up as Arabs or pirates and can certainly do without any disco or jungle beat effects. Still it is is hopelessly romantic. A mix of melancholy sadness and bright hope for the future moves between the songs bringing the best of The Moody Blues, The Little River Band, The Shins and everything in between these bands together in the sound of this album.

The opening songs of A Blemish In The Great Light are so incredibly good that they leave me reeling. The small changes in 'Flesh And Blood' and especially when in the fourth song, 'Natural Disaster', the beautiful aahs comes in, turning the whole song around, I'm simply floored. It hardly ever comes better than this. In the second half Half Moon Run comes a little bit closer to the world yet remains so good.

Only two weeks to go and the band plays Amsterdam's Paradiso twice. Can it be this good live? It seems hard to believe.


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