When Half Moon Run were introduced to Australia in late 2012, ears around the country pricked up. Their stunning performances at Woodford and Peats Ridge Festivals put them on the map, leading to the playlisting of their debut single “Full Circle” on triple j. Fast forward nine months and the rest of the world had caught up, with the new single“Call Me In the Afternoon” setting the globe alight. After signing to Glassnote Records, rocking SXSW and a string of worldwide tours with the likes of Metric, Patrick Watson, Mumford & Sons and Of Monsters and Men – as well as two sold out headline tours of Australia – Half Moon Run went back into the studio to record what would become new album Sun Leads Me On.
For the three founding members (Devon Portielje, Conner Molander and Dylan Phillips) and for fellow multi-instrumentalist Isaac Symonds, who joined during the early touring for ‘Dark Eyes’, Sun Leads Me On materialised through 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. Through brute force and determination, they overcame the mental challenge of effectively starting over.
“‘Sun Leads Me On’ came from a place that felt a little bit like being underwater,” says Dylan. “You kept powering through because ultimately it was worth it. You had this beautiful thing, this wonderful chance, but through a lot of darkness, losing lots of friends, having struggled at home, losing your sense of home, trying to let the music guide you but having trouble even finding that. There was a lot of struggle in this, but at the same time the sun just keeps pulling you forward, and you just keep powering through and trying to find beauty in what you do.”
The sun would literally lead them on to California, after a friend from Norway arrived in Montreal one day. That night, they packed up the jam space and headed south for a vacation. There they lit upon the mellowed sound of Sun Leads Me On, a sound which Devon finds to be a truer musical representation than its predecessor. “I think it’s a lot more honest,” he admits. “We went down to California and we were surfing every day. A lot of the tunes we were writing there just came out. ‘Dark Eyes’ took us like seven months to record and we went through two or three recordings of each song, so the vibe got a little lost from what it initially was.” Sun Leads Me On is the sound of a band with less to prove and more to say.