Poison Oak hit a pub rock bullseye on their new single ‘Waiting’

Waiting, the first single from Poison Oak’s forthcoming EP 1996, is a straight-up piece of Australian rock wearing its far north Queensland heritage on its sleeve.

When you think of Australia’s various subgenres of rock and their most prolific heartlands – Perth for psychedelic, Melbourne for indie, Brisbane for surf, etc – far north Queensland isn’t really a name which comes up. That’s a problem Poison Oak are here to fix.

A relatively new rock outfit raining anthems from up north, Poison Oak play no-frills, pubby rock with lyrics that are rousing and genuine. Their sound is firmly rooted in the genre’s luminaries, from the Go-Betweens to The Whitlams, so strap in and prepare for a ride that’s catchy, true blue, and readymade for a cross-country road trip.

Poison Oak

2020 has been a pretty damn productive year for the band, despite tumultuous world circumstances. Writing and recording have been the focus, and for their trouble Poison Oak are finding new fans all over the country.

The latest in line, Waiting is a distillation of what the band has been striving for to date. Each release etches closer and closer to that perfect pub anthem, and for the band, driving that line is the aim of the game.

“Waiting came together really quickly,” shared lead vocalist and songwriter James Balthes.

“I kind of just put it to the side as just a simple pop rock song. The lyrics are about waiting to meet up with someone who’s words don’t really meet up with their actions, someone who’s not good for you essentially.”

If you’re picking up what Poison Oak are putting down, be sure to peruse through their pre-Waiting discography. If you consider yourself a fan of home-grown rock ‘n’ roll, you’ll find something you love.


Waiting is out now.