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Halfwait: The Official

Halfwait
The Official

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Australian rockers Halfwait—Jon Barca (lead vocals/ guitar), Chris Tallon (drums/ vocals) and Nick Sero (bass/ vocals)—are as inspired by punk-rock, as they are by the traditions of commercial pop. It makes for a very tight and interesting mix on their new album, The Official.

A single-note guitar sails over the beginning of the snappy chunking drum beat and big power chord strikes of opener, “Leave.” Right from the get go it’s evident that while this trio can manage the punk-like attack, they also have their vocals down. I like this one’s almost-teasing sing-song chorus.

We get almost U2 guitar pluckery on the verses of “Taking Over,” and again super backing vocals in the sing-able chorus. “Save Me,” sees the metallic roil of Sero’s bass and Tallan’s tom work under Barcas vocal, again into another wonderfully melodic chorus. The verses get tougher in sound, but stay contained. Smart songwriting to be sure.

The best tune for me here is the sparse “Would You?” It has a slightly more tentative beat in the chorus and the guys pull out all the stops with their strong vocals and a pleading in the lyrics that is very effective.

“Home,” an acoustic tune, ends the eleven tracks, again mining the same lyrical constructs we have seen throughout: loneliness, searching, disconnection. But with the string backing and Jesus, that wonderful vocal mix, this last tune is a true killer single.

The Official by Halfwait is fantastic stuff.

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