May 23, 2019 Middle Kids – New Songs For Old Problems (EP Review)
The human body is truly incredible. The mind can store and recall memories, as well as think an array of thoughts, and the heart can feel as well as be affected by even the slightest cute cat video or a powerful song. The same holds true for Alternative Indie Rock band Middle Kids who released their new EP New Songs For Old Problems via Domino Records on Friday, May 24th via Domino Records.
Out of Sydney, Australia, the trio known as Middle Kids – Hannah Joy (lead singer/guitarist), Tim Fitz (guitarist/producer), and Harry Day (drummer) – are no strangers to rising success, being their homeland’s best kept secret, nominated for an ARIA, which is considered the country’s highest musical honor. Coming off the release their exciting 2018 LP Lost Friends, they return with 6 new songs that sustain the same energy.
A collection of free-thinking nostalgia that somehow sounds oh-so-familiar, yet inspires listeners to broaden one’s horizon, New Songs For Old Problems begins with snarky, Beatles-esque “Belief and Prayers,” a song which refers to the hypocrisy that can come with religion as people judge others. Nostalgia infused purity, the bridge is filled with sweet higher tones, leading to the build up which causes an explosion into the final chorus. This is all while Joy’s voice so tender as she makes a remark that self-expression is “the first check with the king upstairs.”
The feels continue with “Salt Eyes” as the beachy sounding track is filled with dual layers of guitars mimicking the pattern of ocean waves. Despite the song’s carefree aura and catchy chorus, the lyrics are quite the opposite referring to being tired of a certain situation or relationship. Dark undertones then continue within “Needle” as the overall mood twisted with a slower tempo, large bass, and low keys. It is always respectable when musicians create messages of truth that do not follow the “mainstream” crowd and this cuts brings to light how much today’s society has turned to hate and ‘eyeing off each other.’
Moving on, the newest single “Real Thing” is a sweet and sour punch to the face in the best way possible. Perfectly illustrating emotional and mental turmoil with the balance between airy/light angelic vocals against grunge guitar, Middle Kids show they are searching for the meaning of life. That said, they perfectly convey the anxiety and neurosis that constantly makes one question if this is the real thing. Then the lyrical strength continues in “Call Me Snowflake,” easily the EP’s most aggressive and Rock oriented track. Although it is unclear if there is a political jab at the term, Middle Kids makes sure to assure you in raising confidence to know their worth and this anthem holds a playful sarcastic tone of not being as “tough” as once seen or felt. Although, honestly, it is such a banger, you could just imagine a couple of kids jamming it out in a garage without a care in the world.
All this in mind, musically, the strongest track on the EP is the closer “Big Softy” with a serene bass groove that captivates you while accordion and electric guitar dance with each other. There is such a beautiful density here that you could easily get lost in while discovering something new with each listen. On top of it all, Joy’s voice hold a sound of desperation during her ‘It is sometimes hard to go on’ confession, and it is easily relatable to fight to push past the feeling of drowning in circles.
From front to back, New Songs For Old Problems has everything a music lover wants – sugar, spice, and everything in-between. A personal mini-album that is executed incredibly well, Middle Kids is keeping their spirits high and letting their truths be told. With music this good, it is just a matter of time before the band gain much more attention worldwide. For these reasons, Cryptic Rock gives New Songs For Old Problems 5 out of 5 stars.