Originally released in 1998 with the band named The Pharmaceutical Bandits, 'Halfway Between Here and There' was re-released in 1999 under the bands then new name of RX Bandits. The track list was reordered for the re-release, and I must say that the second choice of ordering was far superior to the first. 'Halfway Between Here and There' was the second studio album released by the band RX Bandits, since then a further three albums have been recorded and released however. A new album tends to emerge every two or three years from RX Bandits, and given that the last studio album '...And The Battle Begun' was released back in 2006 it would seem that it shouldn't be too long until the next emerges.
Kicking off with 'What If', this is a strong album from the band blending a mixture of ska, punk rock, and even pop punk also. It clocks in at just under 45 minutes in length, a fun and upbeat offering of absolute ska fun. Never is this album half hearted, always RX Bandits smash through this album with great intensity and a high level of expertise. The music has been finely crafted and is pulled off to terrific effect here in an album that is never anything short of sensational. I love each and every one of the eleven tracks here and can not recommend them highly enough.
RX Bandits at times possess skacore traits in that their music does sporadically introduce an element of shouting and screaming. This side of the band is kept to a minimum however, and for the most part on this 'Halfway Between Here and There' album the music tends to be a brilliant crossover of ska and pop punk fun. 'Lost' is one such track from this release that showcases the shoutier and more skacore side of RX Bandits, it's definitely not hugely apparent though as the album unfolds and the band progress through the eleven tracks of this album.
Although this album is blessed with a number of key tracks, there are a definite few tracks that I see as highlights here. 'Wrong With Me' and 'Andrea' are two such examples of tracks that I have always held a fond love of. To me there is nothing more powerful than when the band belts out the vocal line of 'Retribution uniting of our nation, come on let's join this revolution', it is perhaps the ultimate highlight of this album for me and the reason why I have listened to the track 'Andrea' on so many occasions throughout the years. It's not my favourite track that the band has ever recorded, far greater tracks are included on other of their albums but it is definitely up there amongst the best. It is such a hard hitting track, always the band seems to hit exactly the right notes at all times on this one, but then again for the majority of this album the band are absolutely excellent and rarely is a foot put out of place.
The album reaches its climax with 'Metal Man', an excellent track that I personally am a huge fan of. There is just something about this one that really appeals to me as the band blast their way through such lyrics as 'Don't make me try to listen to that skacore crap, just bust out some Metallica or pop in Spinal Tap'. Lyrically the track is greatly amusing, 'Metal Man' actually fittingly begins with a metal guitar riff, however as it progresses the horn section is very much at the fore and everything about the track screams of the bands ska roots. It is an interesting way to end the album and in my opinion 'Metal Man' works brilliantly well at the albums close.
RX Bandits have long been one of my favourite bands and 'Halfway Between Here and There' although not their strongest offering is an excellent release nonetheless that I personally greatly enjoy listening to. It's fun music that makes you want to get up and dance, it's not the most intelligently crafted album you'll hear in your lifetime but when the music possesses such great energy then this really isn't something that matters. With RX Bandits the music is all about having a good time, the tracks are bouncy, greatly catchy and never does the music disappoint in the slightest. The horn section always comes through finely, the guitar riffs are hugely spirited and never is the music anything but brilliant. Every element of RX Bandits sound comes together sensationally well in order to provide for an altogether excellent listening experience. Although it's true that RX Bandits have recorded and released finer albums than this as a band, there is no denying that 'Halfway Between Here and There' is an extremely exquisite album which comes complete with a number of highly impressive and supremely upbeat tracks. For anyone looking to listen to the music of RX Bandits then I'd suggest listening to the albums of 'Progress' and 'The Resignation' first and foremost, and if you like what you hear there then delve further and give 'Halfway Between Here and There' a listen also.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 What If
2 Gun In Your Hand
3 Ten Seconds Never Seemed So Long
4 Wrong With Me
6 Now Or Never
7 This Time
10 Walk Away
11 Metal Man