Half Moon Run: Dark Eyes

“If you breathe in, I’ll breathe in…”

Music streaming on the internet has changed dramatically in the last several years. A whole host of options have begun competing for bandwidth and market share with a variety of gimmicks. I decided some time ago it was worth $10 a month to have a more or less limitless supply of music on demand. I try not to think too deeply on how many records or CD’s I could have afforded with the roughly $360 I’ve spent over the years, but I digress…

 My streaming service of choice is Rhapsody, which allows me to search for and download music with considerable scope of catalog. I’m generally pretty happy with it – though it uses an appalling amount of data when streaming so I use it exclusively over wifi and download anything I want to listen to away from home. However, one area where it lacks somewhat is in it’s algorithm to suggest music I might like. I do use the “similar artists” feature to some success, but it is rather a cumbersome process sorting through albums, tracks, and lists of bands to find something I might enjoy. I have discovered a considerable amount of new music I really like using this method, but it’s much more labor and attention intensive than the alternative.

The alternative being Pandora. The original internet music radio remains far and away the most reliable source of new music suggestions. Last week it popped out with something I loved immediately and have been proselytizing the hearing of ever since.

 Canadian band Half Moon Run at first blush is very much in the vein of Fleet Foxes, Band of Horses, and The National. This Is A Good Thing. Lush thoughtful harmonies and deft echoing guitars drew me instantly, but what kept me listening was the surprising depth beyond these initial similarities.

 The album manages to encompass a variety of musical styles without seeming disjointed or uneven; considering the contrast between some of the tracks this is a considerable feat of musicianship. Opening with “Full Circle” a straight up rocker, the record also offers dreamy, soulful “Need It” which earned an immediate and coveted place on my sex playlist. “Judgement” is a seething revenge track, “Give Up” has a decidedly Radiohead vibe about it, while “Nerve” echoes of disco in the way that Daft Punk and Broken Bells captured so compellingly in recent memory.

While I make all of these comparisons, I would be remiss if I did not point out that Half Moon Run manages to sound like itself alone. They have a sense of humor, edginess, and vulnerability all in one that is profoundly unique and deeply compelling. It’s rare for me to feel both lulled and lit up by the same record, and their capacity to do so is impressive. It has kept me singing under my breath, listening on repeat, and telling anyone who will sit still long enough how much they need to listen to it too.