Canadian indie rock quartet, Half Moon Run have returned with their second studio album Sun Leads Me On. Off the back of two years of solid touring, the album didn’t materialise easily for the band. There were months of creative frustration before it was conceived out of a Californian vacation where it was recorded in the Bathhouse Studios, Ontario with Nyles Spencer and producer Jim Abbiss keeping close eyes. The record delivers familiarity with a few surprises thrown in for good measure and hallmarks itself as a haphazard collection of indie rock, folk, a 54-second piano piece and the lead single, electronic heavy, ‘Trust’.
The album has an undulating quality that spans across the composition and rhythm of each track. You feel as though you’re caught in a swell; constantly rising and falling with the tide through occasional dunking, which as you can expect, takes you by surprise. A number of tracks begin calmly before drawing you out to a deeper and sometimes frantic territory. Inflections of nostalgia are laced within intricate and delicate guitar work, interwoven with pulsating synths. A few of the tracks you could be forgiven for thinking you were listening to Radiohead, with some slight Tycho influences felt throughout each crescendo.
The stark difference between this album and their previous work is the lead single ‘Trust’. The last song written and recorded for Sun Leads Me On is heavily infused with electronica and is unlike anything the band has previously produced. Multi-instrumentalist Dylan Phillips said, “It’s a departure from what you might normally expect from us”. Being the lead single, it set a precedent for the album, and I can’t help but feel it built it up to be something it’s not.
With that being said, the album is far from disappointing. What it lacks in consistency is made up in sonic variety. Half Moon Run have this wonderful quality of enveloping you into whatever emotion they are trying portray; their strikingly beautiful lyrics – which at some stages have a hymnal quality – balanced with hazy, sun-drenched acoustic instrumentals, synth and piano heavy rhythms.
For existing fans, the album will be easily digestible. For new fans it could take a few times before the composition and flow sit right. All in all, an enjoyable listen.
‘Sun Leads Me On’ is out now via Indica Records/MGM.