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Middle Kids do radio-friendly indie brilliantly well says Luke Hawkins…

I’m sure we can all agree, the middle kid is always the most annoying. However, this particular set of middle kids are far from grating. In fact, they’ve created an album that would be easy to listen to on repeat for any length of time.
Stereo played host to the showcasing of their new album Lost Friends. Middle Kids are one of many brilliant Aussie bands that have shown up over recent years and they more than hold their own amongst the likes of the brilliant DMA’s and juvenile stoner punks Dune Rats.

The majority of elements of their sound however, are mostly traceable back to the U.S rather than the land down under (sorry Men Without Hats fans). Whether it’s the guitar sounding like vintage 90s emo or the melodic verses being reminiscent of semi-successful soft-rockers Magic Numbers.

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The most striking resemblance though, is that of contemporary singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers. Both acts are able to take the disenchantment or mundanity sometimes felt within relationships, romantic or otherwise, and convey it in a way that shows vulnerability but still stays cool. The vocals aren’t dissimilar to Bridgers’ either; with her country-style, controlled cracks of the voice. Mistake is probably the best showcase of this similarity, along with its bass driven melody and hooky chorus.

Edge of Town, judging by the crowd’s reaction has become the band’s flagship song. Starting with some typically lo-fi garage rock sounding strumming before the guitar slides the tempo and pitch of the song into a giddy crescendo.

The nature of Middle Kids’ songs means there are some fairly noticeable shifts in pace, up and down, throughout the set. Somewhere in amongst those gear changes was the delicate gem of a song Maryland; sweet, sincere and engaging.

Other than each song being bracketed with deserved applause, the crowd were noticeably polite. In other words, quiet. Something that the band themselves remarked upon. This isn’t something specific to this gig unfortunately. It’s just a worryingly increasing trend amongst Glasgow’s gig-goers.
Although essentially an indie band, Middle Kids have something altogether more pleasant about them. The high notes on the guitars chime rather than twang, and the lyrics are sung with genuine warmth.

Not every band would consider being described as pleasant as a good thing, preferring to be all edgy and mysterious instead. But Middle Kids aren’t middle of the road in any way, they just happen to be a pleasure to listen to. They do radio-friendly indie brilliantly well.

review by Luke Hawkins

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