Inwards & Onwards is the second EP from the Montreal-based indie-rock band Half Moon Run, which comes nine years after their debut album Dark Eyes, released in 2012. Though plenty of time has passed between their debut and this release, Inwards & Onwards is firmly rooted in the band’s signature modern folk sound.
Whilst this EP marks how the band — like many of us — have evolved and changed over this tricky period, the band hasn’t strayed too far from their roots. Their signature indie-rock/folk sound can still be heard in the guitar work, and in lead vocalist Devon Portielje’s captivating vocals.
The opening track and first single ‘How Come My Body’ eases the listener into the record, a blend of the band’s signature folk sound, intense percussion, and electronic tones. The instrumentation on this song is really effective as the final note and final strum of the guitar lingers, leaving you waiting and eager for more.
Second single ‘On And On’ is a Half Moon Run track through and through, with rich vocal harmonies that feel weightless. There’s a deep sense of nostalgia in the lyrics “I listen to growin’/ Ebbin’ and flowin’/ Nothin’ like knowin’ the sun has shone” and you really get a sense of how time is passing around us.
‘Fucksgiving’ has the folk sound that’s typical of the band yet much like the catchy ‘Jello on My Mind’ from their last LP, A Blemish in the Great Light, it’s full of tongue in cheek humour as they sing “You hate the songs I sing but I keep singing”. Though they silence their critics in this track, the band also shows how committed they are to crafting their songs through the gradual build up from quiet piano track to impactful and emotive ballad-esque sound.
‘Tiny’ is a softer offering that allows you to take a moment and truly appreciate the vocal harmonies and musical sound of the band. The song starts off as quiet and unassuming, but the roaring vocal harmonies towards the end show that sometimes the simplest, more stripped-back tracks are the best.
‘Nosebleed’ has a soft, more intimate feel to it, even with the occasional harmonica interlude. It’s the kind of track that I’m sure would see a live venue alight with phone cameras in every direction.
Despite being a short song, ‘It’s True’ packs the biggest punch of all the tracks on the EP. It starts off slow and hushed but just as it comes to a close, it ends on soaring vocals and thumping music. It feels like a final tease of what’s to come for the band.
Inwards & Onwards might feel like it’s just more of the same from the Montreal band but, actually, it shows that like all of us this past year they are evolving and changing, creating indie folk for the modern age.
Words by Jen Rose
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