It’s the same old story. Bar room redemption, melancholy reflection and, er, an ex-jockey in the Aussie outback. Halfway have always been slightly off centre in their approach to material, even if it’s sometimes hard to fathom through their façade of mainstream western rock.
This a band with something of a pedigree as far as Brisbane Americana goes. Band leaders John Busby and Chris Dale are prizewinning songwriters and have toured in esteemed company including The Jayhawks and The Black Keys. You just have to read the CD notes by contemporary art expert and author Professor Ross Gibson to become sucked into the Halfway world. The atmosphere is one of wide open spaces, a world where time has stood still in the Wild West down under. So what’s the story? It’s Barcaldine, Queensland in the 1970’s and a former big time jockey has fallen on hard times. He’s working the railways and is slowly losing his grip on reality as he becomes slowly consumed by memories, helped along by the attractions of the ‘Shakespeare Hotel’, a venue that figures largely in our hero’s life.
The finer moments such as ‘Dulcify’ and ‘Sunlight on the Sills’ are poignant moments. Lyrically bitter yet hopeful, it’s a decent record, if a little sentimental.