Album Review | Halfwait Reopen The Gates To 90s Grunge with The Official

Australian rockers, Halfwait, have reopened the gates to the once inescapable melting pot of 90s grunge/alt-rock/punk, in all its angsty, raucous glory.

Heavy rock may have waned considerably over the last decade, but bands like Halfwait whet the appetite for the nostalgic and the diehards. ‘The Official’ is a coherent, well-delivered musical statement with enough variance to break any sense of dry uniformity, though it is certain to part a crowd.

The pop sensibilities are front and centre for this trio, clearly keen on making a mark through their hooky melodies and cathartic choruses, and this aspect peaks with, ‘Leave’, the opening tune. The aggressive punk matched with the double-tracked vocals on the chorus sound like something straight off Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’. It’s an instant sell and sets an excellent standard for the remainder of the album.


The crisp production and heaviness make a great argument for the idea that Halfwait are more post- Nirvana than of their exact period, however. Echoes of Bush and Linkin Park are dotted across this record, especially the string of epic dramas found between ‘Taking Over’ and ‘Go Away’; any unapologetic Kerrang heads from back in the day will find themselves right at home here.

Halfwait’s vocals are very much of the love-it-or-hate-it breed. It’s undeniably whiny and emotional, eschewing the grit and grime of Cobain and Staley for more modern trends popularized by emos since the turn of the century. The melodies are well-structured and rarely sound throwaway; each track is constructed to be an accessible sing-a-long with darker edges. Closing ballad, ‘Home’, is a top example in this regard, a showcase of the power of simplicity, and this is perhaps the central pull of ‘The Official’ as a whole.