Mike Judy Presents
For Half Moon Run, it’s been crucial to every step they’ve taken together. They never laboured under the notion that they would be successful musicians in a touring band. Nevertheless, when they formed in Montreal in 2009, multi-instrumentalists Devon Portielje, Conner Molander and Dylan Phillips abandoned every backup plan because they weren’t prepared to sacrifice their uncommon chemistry. Instinct and faith led them to create their astonishingly accomplished debut album Dark Eyes, released in 2012. Its follow-up, Sun Leads Me On, is the process of coming into being in the quest for beauty and honesty. For the three founding members—and for fellow multi-instrumentalist Isaac Symonds, who joined the band during the early touring for Dark Eyes—it materialised after months of creative frustration. After two years of relentless gigging, they got back to Montreal in late 2014 only to realise they were “oversaturated with each other and the band,” says Isaac. It was only through brute force and determination that they ultimately overcame the mental challenge of effectively starting over. Sun Leads Me On eschews the alt-folk melancholia of its predecessor in favour of a collective voyage of personal self-discovery. From the quaint downtempo cooing of “Warmest Regards” to the dark, danceable synths of “Trust” via the Bob Dylan-esque pluckiness of “Devil May Care”, it’s a more diverse, spacious and balanced album. It’s Half Moon Run rediscovering their connection to each other through music. Reparation figures heavily among its recurring themes, as does agency: “what a perfect day to take what you can get, to live without regret” sings Devon, during the wrought and aggressive strains of “I Can’t Figure Out What’s Going On”. It’s a singular feeling that’s best encapsulated in the breathy and heart-stopping crescendo of the title track. What starts as a personal journey expressed in Devon’s lyricism is reaffirmed by the shared experience of his bandmates as they pile on magnetising harmonies and ensemble arrangements.
**Tickets for this event can not be purchased at the Old Rock House box office**