Classically-trained trio Middle Kids have struck out with indie-pop guns blazing over the last year or so. Punchy singles ‘Edge Of Town’ and ‘Mistake’ have found favour all over the globe, including with err… Elton John, who’s played them on his Beats 1 show.
Riding high on such success, they might have delivered a potboiler, but their debut, ‘Lost Kids’, is a sharp, focussed affair shot through with rousing hooks. The production is crystalline, the songwriting reassuringly direct. The opening three tracks, ‘Bought It’, ‘Mistake’ and ‘Edge of Town’ are highlights – undeniably catchy, structured tightly and varied sonically just enough so as to avoid sounding flabby. It’s no wonder they find themselves on Spotify’s Feel Good Indie Rock playlist.
The title track, with its pleasing lilt, blends the sprightly and the melancholic with aplomb. Crafting a solid set of songs that hold their own among break-out singles is no mean feat, but the Sydney trio have pulled it off – in the main, at least.
Regrettably, a record exec somewhere is convinced that the drop tunings, guitar solos, grating cymbal crashes and bombastic fills make the album really ‘rock’, and the strings and pianos sometimes come on a little gratuitous. Industrial designer Dieter Rams’s maxim ‘less but better’ might serve them well.
On closer ‘So Long Farewell I’m Gone’ Hannah Joy sings, “when I was young I decided I was weird” – this posture of outsiderness doesn’t really tally with an album which is not ‘weird’ by any stretch of the imagination. But ‘Lost Kids’ brims with exuberance and will surely go down well among Middle Kids’s already-sizeable fanbase and win them plenty of new listeners.
And whilst you might sneer slightly at their desire “to be part of the conversation that unites people around certain ideals that are universal, like hope and love”, here they’ve assuredly taken a seat at the table.
Words: Wilf Skinner
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