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By James Cerche
5th February 2014

The linear notes immediately announce Halfway's 'Any Old Love' as conceptual album wrought from “Bar Stories and cautionary tales [from] the Central Western Line”. The eight-strong band features a cross-section of Sunshine State musicians, including input from some ex-Go Betweens on guitar and production duties. Musically steeped in country Australiana, the record is romantic and poppy, mining the culture of the late 70s and the central Queensland town of Barcaldine.

Warm production and comfortable instrumentation intentionally don't push any sonic boundaries as Halfway work hard to evoke the era of their fascination. Touching on local racing heroes, ill-fated nag Dulcify (“some days Doriemus, some Dulcify”) and the historic Shakespeare Hotel, the album is somewhat esoteric in its attempts at multifaceted plotting around the pop choruses and country guitars. The inclusion of a glossary amongst the extensive linear notes sheds light on some of the more period-specific characters and places.


Soft rockers 'Drop Out', 'Honey I Like You' and 'Factory Rats' keep the record's engine ticking along, with easily caught choruses and neat harmonies without packing a hugely memorable punch. The folky interludes 'Any Old Love Pts 1-4' are charming offerings between tracks that were recorded as boozy late night experiments following the main sessions. 'Sunlight On The Sills' is a heartfelt highlight, sporting some ernest lyrical imagery and soulful guitar work. 'The Waking Hours' is a suitably pensive closer to the preceding narrative. “Rack it up love and let it go”, they plead in a morning after haze of hope and redemption.

Contemporary country is a tough style to work into popular spheres these days, and while there is definitely an audience for these tracks, it has a selective interest. As a genre record, the appeal of 'Any Old Love' will likely be limited in the younger market and find more traction with older listeners and Australian country fans.

BAND: Halfway
MEMBERS: John Busby
Chris Dale
Elwin Hawtin
Ben Johnson
Noel Fitzpatrick
Liam Fitzpatrick
John Willsteed
Luke Peacock
FORMED: 2000
FROM: Brisbane
SOUND: Country
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