Personnel: Alex Héon-Goulet (flute); Tazmyn Eddy (trumpet, flugelhorn).
Recording information: Bathouse Studios, Bath, ON.
Photographer: Yani Clarke.
The sophomore studio long player from the Montreal-based quartet, Sun Leads Me On finds Half Moon Run dialing back on the sweeping Fleet Foxes-inspired indie folk elements of their debut in favor of a more cosmopolitan approach. Writing was split between the band's hometown and a surfing sabbatical in southern California, and the 13-track set reflects that geographical disparity by offering up a bubbling crock pot spilling over with a frothy mix of West Coast electro-chamber pop and bucolic heartland rock. Aptly named opener "Warmest Regards" starts things off by coating everything in a tube-driven, sun-bleached '70s singer/songwriter patina that falls somewhere between Harry Nilsson, Stornoway, and the Zombies, while the highway-ready "I Can't Figure Out What's Going On" invokes the Eagles by way of Midlake. That all changes with the third track, the propulsive, synth-propelled "Consider Yourself," a terse and propulsive blast of Krautrock and Foals-esque new wave that informs later cuts like the R&B-kissed "Turn Your Love," the brooding "It Works Itself Out," and the club-ready closer "Trust." Between those sonic deviations, the band mostly sticks to something in between, with the lush "Everybody Wants" and the equally sumptuous title cut bearing the most delectable fruit. There are some torpor-inducing moments near the album's end that threaten to bring the whole thing to a standstill, but they're mostly aberrations in an otherwise well-oiled machine. As a whole, Sun Leads Me On is a far more confident-sounding animal than 2012's Dark Eyes, with the band coming off less like a hastily assembled, albeit talented, group of strangers, and more like a road-tested, yet well-rested army of four. ~ James Christopher Monger