Album Review: Middle Kids’ debut EP is a triumph in originality

“Some things just don’t add up/I’m upside down/I’m inside out”, sings Hannah Joy, lead singer of Sydney’s Middle Kids on “Edge of Town” — the second track off their debut self-titled EP (out February 17 via Domino Records).

From start to finish, Middle Kids leave you just like this: Upside down, inside out, things not adding up. The EP takes you in so many different directions, to the point of delusion; but they do it in the most original, amazing way possible. They feel organic. They feel like they are singing about you. By now, most people would consider modern “indie rock” formulaic — Middle Kids’ take that formula, grab it by the throat, and rearrange it to where it’s totally new and the same all at once.

First thing that will stand out to you is how great the songwriting is on this EP. The words and music flow in such a way that just makes them inseparable. The guitar work here by guitarist Tim Fitz on this release is top notch; it adds so many layers to the story, particularly works like “Edge of Town” and “Fire in Your Eyes”. Vocally, Middle Kids singer Hannah Joy delivers precise elegance and simplicity, then gives you all the grit and fire you can handle all in the same line. Backing percussion from Harry Day is the final piece to the fantastic puzzle that brings the EP together.

The EP does something that few modern releases do this days — it demands you listen on repeat, as often as possible, and dares you to get sick of it. After multiple listens, Middle Kids don’t sound like you’ve heard it five, ten, fifteen times; it sound as fresh and original as the first time it graced your ears. Joy’s voice is still as uplifting as ever; Fitz’s guitar still carries you thru the song; and Day’s drums still pop off like fireworks that have never had their wick lit before. It’s a total and complete release and as excellent of a debut as you can get.

You can catch Middle Kids in Los Angeles on Saturday, February 25 in a headline slot at The Echo. Tickets are priced at $9.50 and are still available.

Words by Canaan Lamp

February 21 || Seattle, WA || Barboza
February 22 || Portland, OR || The Fremont Theater
February 25 || Los Angeles, CA || The Echo
February 28 || Denver, CO || Lost Lake Lounge
March 1 || Kansas City, MO || The Tank Room
March 3 || Nashville, TN || The Basement
March 4 || Charleston, SC || The Music Farm *
March 5 || Charlotte, NC || The Fillmore *
March 6 || Saxapahaw, NC || Haw River Ballroom *
March 7 || Atlanta, GA || The Tabernacle *
March 10 || Baton Rouge, LA || Varisty Theatre *
March 11 || Fayetteville, AR || George’s Majestic Lounge *
March 12 || Omaha, NE || Sokol Auditorium *
March 14 || Madison, WI || Majestic Theatre *
March 15 – March 16 || Austin, TX || SXSW
March 18 || Chicago, IL || Riviera Theater *
March 19 || Indianapolis, IN || Egyptian *
March 21 || Detroit, IL || St. Andrews Hall *
March 22 || Toronto, ON || Danforth Music Hall *
March 23 || Pittsburgh, PA || Stage AE *
March 24 || Covington, KY || Madison Theater *
March 29 || Philadelphia, PA || Boot & Saddle
March 30 || Washington, DC || DC9
April 1 || Brooklyn, NY || Baby’s All Right
* with Cold War Kids