While listening to “Dark Eyes”, the debut album from Canadian trio Half Moon Run (in preparation for this review) my girlfriend suddenly informed me that “this was the song Starbucks were giving away free this week”. I stopped in my tracks because A. She doesn’t really drink coffee and B. Any track given away via the Starbucks “Pick of the Week” is usually extremely twee and so bad that the only way to regain and sense of normality is to have a quick espresso.

The song she was referring to was “Full Circle” and in a strange twist of caffeine related fate it, and the remainder of the album, is actually pretty good stuff.

While a famous UK based weekly music magazine seemed to think this sounded like Mumford & Sons I could not disagree more. There are no wailing banjos and certainly from the album artwork I can see no waistcoats. The album does borrow from certain genres but also offers a brand of uniqueness on certain tracks.

The slower songs on “Dark Eyes”, including “No More Losing the War” (with its London and Waterloo Station references) and the quite incredible “Unofferable”, are beautifully written. However, it’s the up-beat songs that take this album to another level. “Judgement” and it’s thrashing guitars and clever keyboards is the stand out track on the album and you almost wish it could be just a few seconds longer as it has a very moreish quality to it.

“Give Up” has a really obvious Radiohead sound to it and “Call Me in the Afternoon” lends from Band of Horses. However, both are still well written and extremely catchy songs.

The album release comes straight off the back of the bands 2013 Glastonbury performance. Strangely “Dark Eyes” was actually released in 2012 but only to the US market. Its European release is certainly deserved and if the record company picks the right tracks for release from this album there is no reason why this shouldn’t act as a springboard for something big in 2014.

Half Moon Run will start the UK leg of their tour in November 2013. The track listing for “Dark Eyes” is…

  1. Full Circle
  2. Call Me In The Afternoon
  3. No More Losing The War
  4. She Wants To Know
  5. Need It
  6. Give Up
  7. Judgement
  8. Unofferable
  9. Drug You
  10. Nerve
  11. Fire Escape
  12. 21 Gun Salute

Download: Unofferable, Judgement

Rating: 3 out of 5

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