Photo: Brian Vu / Courtesy of Grandstand Media

Half Waif – “Halogen 2” (Singles Going Steady)

Slight but urgent, Half Waif's "Halogen 2" offers a beautiful build and perfectly-pitched multi-tracked fifth-harmonies.

Mike Schiller: Slight but urgent, “Halogen 2” offers a beautiful build and perfectly-pitched multi-tracked fifth-harmonies from Nandi Rose Plunkett, the driving force behind Half Waif. The video’s contrasting cold indie-horror colors on the verses and warm chorus stage dances offer a lovely parallel with the music, which opens up on those choruses in a way that sounds like plugging a loose cord the rest of the way into the speaker. It never quite explodes the way it seems to want to — content with two verses and two choruses, it gets out of dodge before it ever has the chance — but the sense of unfinished business it leaves to its listeners is probably the point. Given what Plunkett accomplishes here in a mere two minutes, next month’s full-length LP has the potential to be breathtaking. [7/10]

Ian Rushbury: Much of the video is filmed in the snow with a blue filter on the lens, so it’ll have you running for a sweater before the end of the first verse. In just over two and a half minutes, Half Waif constructs a wall of angst strong enough to withstand nuclear weaponry. At one point, she even smokes a cigarette – is that allowed now? The chorus sounds like an arena-rock band have had all their guitars taken off them and they’ve been handed laptops instead. This is dangerously close to parody. [5/10]

Mike Elliott: Atmospheric, pleasant new wave throwback. Captivating visuals. [6/10]

Peter Griffiths: A little witch-house to go with your pop. I figured maybe a lot of the attraction of this sort of material was the ambience, but this seems to want to build to a climax and then just doesn’t do it at all. [6/10]

Half Waif’s The Caretaker releases 27 March via Anti- Records.

SCORE: 6.00