As indie rock continues to evolve, and a growing number of bands keep getting lumped into that genre, it is becoming increasingly more difficult for bands to stick out from the pack. Such is not the case for a relatively new band called Middle Kids, as their brand of indie pop rock flourishes right from the first listen. The group, from Sydney, Australia, are comprised of lead singer/guitarist Hannah Joy, her husband and bassist Tim Fritz, and drummer Harry Day. The group has taken full advantage of the excitement that comes with releasing their debut full-length album by showcasing just how talented this trio truly are.
The band’s unique brand of pop rock can be best described as a mix between the song-writing prowess of Fleetwood Mac, the pop sensibilities of Florence + The Machine, and the urgency of Arctic Monkeys. Having previously released only a 6-song, self-titled EP, interest in the band has been at an all-time high coming off of high profile tours with Cold War Kids and Ryan Adams. The vibrant sounds coming through on this album are infectious and perfect for the late Spring, early Summer seasons.
The album itself starts off with “Bought It,” a song that gradually builds up to set the tone for the rest of the album with a memorable crescendo near the end of the track reminiscent of The Naked & Famous. The next track and first single from the album is entitled “Mistake” that sounds like it could have been written by famed hit-maker and Bleachers’ front-man Jack Antanoff. The song quickly takes off with a shimmering chorus that demands to be replayed on a variety of playlists fit for any mood. This song itself is worth the purchase price of the entire album, yet you would be remiss to not continue on the journey Middle Kids take us on throughout the LP.
“Edge of Town” picks up heavily on their Fleetwood Mac influence, while still re-branding their modern indie pop sound fit for the countless festivals they will surely be asked to perform at in the near future. Middle of the album tracks such as the delicate ballad “Maryland” showcase the band’s repertoire of telling a story in their songs while still maintaining true to their core sound. Additionally, “On My Knees” brings the pace back up to their most comfortable speed of up-tempo rockers that allow vocalist Hannah Joy to showcase her expansive range built around catchy pop hooks.
“Don’t Be Hiding” tells a story of accepting people for who they are, and it’s not hard to accept Middle Kids as a welcomed addition to the indie rock scene with a debut album fit for a large audience. Even the slower tracks found on this album, such as the piano-driven “Hole,” come at just the right sequencing on the album as the ups and downs are easily digestible as the group takes us through all the variety of styles that they are capable of showcasing.
Typically, debut albums will have a misstep or two to be found, or amateur lyrics that the artist may look embarrassingly back on as they develop their career. No such moments are found on this stellar debut album by Middle Kids, as they have put a solid stamp on their brand of indie rock that demands to be taken seriously. However, with a debut as solid as this one, it’s also okay to admit that it’s also one hell of a fun ride as well.