Cool New Indie Art-Folk from Canada — “Dark Eyes” by Half Moon Run

27 Jul

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Our neighbors to the north have given us so many good things: ice hockey, peanut butter (look it up!), Dan Aykroyd, Alex Trebek and Michael J. Fox. Canada has also launched a long list of outstanding indie artists: Arcade Fire. The Weakerthans. New Pornographers.

The latest to emerge from the frozen north is Half Moon Run, a trio out of Montreal. Half Moon Run’s debut release, Dark Eyes, serves up an outstanding set of indie rock with alt-folk or “art folk” sensibilities.

Frontman Devon Portielje has an amazingly agile tenor. He uses his instrument to express a range of emotions in the 12-song set. Rich harmonies from bandmates, Conner Molander and Dylan Phillips; accomplished guitar work; sprinklings of piano; infectious rhythms; and the layering of synths provide Dark Eyes its remarkable depth.

Dark Eyes was originally released in Canada in 2012 — but was just released in the US this week. The first single was the opening track on the CD, “Full Circle.” The circular, fingerpicked acoustic guitar and staccato vocals backed with lush harmonies create an intriguing folk tune. The second single, “Call Me in the Afternoon,” has proven even more popular, reaching #19 on Canada’s rock/alternative chart. It starts playfully with lightly tripping vocals. Additional layers of music heighten the intensity and complexity.

My favorite cut on the CD is “Drug You.” The edgy, mesmerizing high-energy tune has simply got to be released as a future single. Tension is increased by the interplay between repeated guitar phrases and rhythm elements. The vocals are in Portielje’s upper range, then swell into an exquisite falsetto. Fabulous!

There are many more excellent tracks on the CD — it’s one of those with few weaknesses. If you like indie rock, folk or alt-folk, Dark Eyes by Half Moon Run is one CD you must have in your collection!

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