Earlier this month, Half Moon Run received a Juno award nomination for Group of the Year. They share the release of their latest single "How Come My Body" out now on GlassnoteRecords. A decade after their debut, the Canadian kings of indie rock are in the midst of their most profound evolution yet.
"How Come My Body" is an exhibition of soft melodic vocal layers and masterful slow built percussion, together crafting a tranquil dream-like soundscape.
About the track, band member Devon Portielje shares, "I remember feeling confused and uncomfortable as a 20 year old, and I find myself feeling sympathy for that younger version of myself now. I also feel sympathy and concern for people living through that metamorphosis between adolescence and adulthood in the modern world."
Half Moon Run forged a singular sound in their formative years that looked beyond Montreal's past and future toward the realm of the timeless. Theirs is a sound that inspires all sorts of colorful, contradictory descriptors"folk music for the modern dark age, art rock for harmony-pop enthusiasts, rustic indie anthems for neoclassical heads"but no matter what you call it, the physical and emotional responses among listeners is always the same: heartbeats accelerate, goosebumps rise, eye sockets well up.
From the moment Half Moon Run dropped their 2012 debut album, "Dark Eyes", on Indica Records, they no longer belonged to Montreal, but to the world at large. As the album's pulse-quickening lead single, "Full Circle," galloped up the alternative charts in Canada, a U.S. deal with Glassnote Records landed them in the upper reaches of Billboard's Heatseekers list, while steady BBC airplay lured the group overseas and into the welcoming embrace of Mumford and Sons' Ben Lovett, who signed Half Moon Run to his Communion label in the UK. But as the international tour offers came rolling in (including opening slots for the Mumfords and Sons and Of Monsters and Men), the trio soon realized they would need to shore up their ranks to fully realise their widescreened sound in a live setting.
Half Moon Run's meticulous ethic has consistently worked to their advantage, as the group has continued to expand its reach with each release while its sound has blossomed in unexpected ways. Embracing both the surface sheen of '80s yacht-rock and the intricate song structures of prog rock, "A Blemish in the Great Light" was Half Moon Run's highest charting release in Canada to date (debuting at No. 3) and landed them their first Juno Award for Adult Alternative Album of the Year.
Finding great success as touring artists, the four piece note the trouble in life on the road interrupting the schedule and mental flow of producing new material. But once a band hits a new creative peak, they're inevitably faced with a nagging question: Where do we go from here? Even before the COVID-19 pandemic took everyone's show off the road in 2020, Half Moon Run were already bracing for some internal upheaval on the horizon.
Through thick and thin of am enforced international year-plus lockdown, Half Moon Run kept their heads above water with stopgap releases like the "Seasons of Change" EP (a collection of leftovers from the Blemish sessions) and their popular "Covideo Sessions" series on YouTube, where the band reworked selections from their back catalogue in split-screen virtual jam sessions, with each member performing their parts in isolation at their respective homes. (The results were eventually compiled on the namesake 2020 EP.) However, behind the scenes, the band was marking the end of an era: After eight years of serving as Half Moon Run's crucial fourth wheel, Isaac Symonds announced he was leaving the band on the most amicable of terms.
"When COVID hit," Molander explains, "everybody in the world was going inside themselves and asking, 'Who am I? What are the most important things in my life? And what can I get rid of?' And in that context, Isaac decided it was time for him to take a new direction. So somehow, in the midst of COVID, we just found the three of us"me, Dev, and Dyl"back together again, as we were 10 years ago."
Half Moon Run have certainly come a long way"musically, spiritually, geographically"since their humble beginnings in Montreal's Mile End. But after 10 years, three albums, hundreds of shows, and one global pandemic, Half Moon Run have truly come"in the words of their 2012 signature song"full circle.