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Dark Eyes
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  • Richly detailed, alternately rugged and studio slick, the airy and expressive debut album from Montreal's Half Moon Run is caught somewhere between the pastoral, harmony-laden northwoods folk of Fleet Foxes, the hazy classic rock meanderings of Band of Horses, and the soulful midnight din of Alt-J and Jeff Buckley. Formed via a craigslist ad, the band's internal anonymity is hardly relative with regard to its cohesiveness, as each track on the brainy yet intuitive Dark Eyes sounds like the sum of its parts, but there is enough space between those parts to suggest a sort of unspoken agreement to avoid any sort of showboating. This predilection for musical mindfulness is best exemplified by album opener "Full Circle," a carefully tiered, slow-burn brooder that churns along like a river swollen with menace, and then manages to explode without any sort of real violence. The effect is surprisingly and elegantly dramatic, and when Half Moon Run mine this particular cadence, as they do on standout cuts like "No More Losing the War," "Fire Escape," and "Give Up," the latter of which sounds like it morphed out of the early moments of Radiohead's "Paranoid Android," they cast a spell that can prove difficult to break free of. That elegance is retained on more mellifluous offerings like the breezy "Call Me in the Afternoon" and the multi-layered, electro-pop-kissed closer, "21 Gun Salute," both of which lean harder toward the Alt-J side of the equation, but they lack the command of atmosphere and sense of purpose that drive the darker numbers. ~ James Christopher Monger
Professional Reviews
Q (Magazine) (p.104) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he quietly intense and focused songs that comprise their debut album thankfully veer off at unexpected tangents."

Mojo (Publisher) (p.90) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he close-knit, three-part harmonies mark them as very much their own men."
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