Mess+Noise album review: Halfway – ‘An Outpost Of Promise’, July 2010

An album review for Mess+Noise.

'An Outpost Of Promise' album cover by Brisbane band HalfwayHalfwayAn Outpost Of Promise

Call them alt-country, call them roots-rock. The accuracy of genre identification matters not, as at the heart of the matter lies a simple fact: Brisbane’s Halfway are damned good songwriters. That the key writing duo of John Busby and Chris Dale are past winners of the Grant McLennan Fellowship – a $20,000 Arts Queensland grant – is not surprising given the strengths of their third LP.

Recorded by Wayne Connolly and featuring a Robert Forster production credit, it’s their most ambitious and considered work to date. Even at their most scintillating – ‘Sweetheart, Please Don’t Start’, a five-minute long, achingly beautiful epic – Halfway are characterised by a rare kind of understated cohesion. There are very few sharp edges on ‘Sweetheart’, and I don’t mean that as a backhanded compliment: it’s the most gripping song here by a long way. Built on a recurring refrain (“Not like some old love/You’re more like the sea/A heart’s coming home, love/And they wash you to me”), it’s only in the final 90 seconds that the song is injected with a sense of urgency through an increase in tempo and the appearance of softly-distorted guitars.

Full review at Mess+Noise, where you can also stream two tracks from this album. More Halfway on their MySpace.

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