There’s something a little bit magic about Middle Kids. Listening to their anticipated debut LP, Lost Friends, it’s hard to believe this is a band on their first full outing. But having already performed on US network TV and supported the likes of Ryan Adams and Cold War Kids on tour (and also with a killer 2017 EP under their belts), it should perhaps come as no surprise the Sydney trio have produced such a polished, powerful work.
They are tight unit, who have honed their sound with immersive songs constructed between large and quieter moments to wonderful effect. Fronting the band, Hannah Joy’s arresting vocals are commanding, while capable of conveying genuine emotional frailties.
At the heart of the appeal is the outstanding song-writing. There’s something Springsteen-esque here (beyond just the ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town’ reference): lyrical honesty, solid guitars that build and fall, melodic hooks and a knack for the perfect chorus. And it’s all completely engaging. It’s rare to find this level of emotional resonance in any band, let alone on a debut record.
The nuanced opener ‘Bought It’ exemplifies all of these qualities, followed up with ‘Mistake’, building viscerally over its rock-steady beat.
Meanwhile, the familiar ‘Edge of Town’ and then later ‘Never Start’ (both lifted from the previous EP) somehow feel bigger here within the context of the full record.
‘On My Knees’ gives us shifting rhythms and a soaring chorus, while ‘Don’t Be Hiding’ has a seductive pop sensibility.
The beautifully unadorned ‘Hole’ splits the album in two, before ‘Please’ announces itself like early Arcade Fire. There’s not a weak link among the songs on Lost Friends, with later highlights including the confessional title track and the slow-burning closer, ‘So Long, Farewell, I’m Gone’.
If you haven’t done so already, make friends with Middle Kids now.
Lost Friends is out Friday 4th May from EMI and Middle Kids play Fat Controller, Adelaide, Friday 11th May with details here.
Reviewed by Matthew Trainor