The latest single from Canadian group Half Moon Run truly displays the talents of vocalists and multi-instrumentalists Devon Portielje, Conner Molander, and Dylan Phillips. An insistent beat propels ‘Alco’ forward, over which a bright and soaring melody sweeps us along as the song swells. Beautiful musical layers include fast finger-picking, uplifting ukulele and gorgeous harmony vocals that give the song an ethereal feel. It all started with a decade-old rediscovered ukulele riff that the band refreshed and brought to life. Molander explains: “Devon took a ukulele on a trip to Thailand in 2012. When he got back to Montreal, he played the opening riff of ‘Alco’ for us – and we loved it! We started developing the song around that time but kept running into roadblocks with the arrangement. It’s such a pleasure now to feel like we finally cracked the code after all these years. Personally, I love the elven textures that decorate this recording – it feels mystical!” The video, shot by Marc-André Dupaul and Jennifer McCord and directed by Dupaul, is an atmospheric piece of work. The footage feels like swirling memory and nostalgia, fitting the song well.
The single is from the award-winning Montreal band’s upcoming fourth studio album ‘Salt’, due for release on 2nd June 2023. The band have looked to the past to help create their new sounds. Molander explains: “On our first European tour in 2012, we bought a little Tascam 2-track recorder. We used it to capture our live shows – we’d listen back looking for ways to improve. From that point on, it also replaced Devon’s old cassette recorder as our most important and long-standing piece of songwriting technology. We use it every single time we write together, keeping it on constantly while we jam and improvise. Listening back to what we just did is a crucial part of our process – one of the only single techniques we dogmatically rely on. While making this record, it felt as if we were boiling down a huge cauldron of musical ideas, trying to reduce it to something elemental. What we were left with was Salt.” So far, Half Moon Run have won two Canadian Juno Awards and, with music of this quality, we predict more to come. Listen and be absorbed.