Review: Middle Kids - 'Today We're The Greatest'

Middle Kids are Sydney’s answer to the perfect indie rock ensemble. The dynamic trio consisting of singer-songwriter Hannah Joy; the multi-talented Tim Fitz, and skilled drummer Harry Day live up to the title of their upcoming album. ‘Today We’re The Greatest’ is a showcase of warming indie rock goodness, with an eclectic range of snappy and smooth tracks that are truly a delight to listen to. It’s undeniably romantic and celebratory of this, but never in excess.

With recording and production left to industry legend, Lars Stalfors (St. Vincent, Electric Guest), the delicate writing becomes equally fun and intimate for a thoroughly engaging listening experience. Under the wing of Stalfors’ expertise, Middle Kids ensure that not a moment of ‘Today We’re The Greatest’ feels cold.

Hannah Joy flaunts her exquisite tone and range with her vocal efforts in ‘Bad Neighbours’, while folky guitar is gently blended with flourishing synths. Somewhat mournful lyricism unexpectedly sits in a gentle track that evokes a deep sense of calm, akin to imagery of the mottled shade under a sun-lit treescape. ‘Cellophane (Brain)’ continues to deliver the fulfilling sense already established: punctuated by gentle percussion, soaring guitar and charming delivery.

We’ve had since October 2020 to get to love ‘R U 4 Me’ but if this is your first listen, you’ll be greeted with an instant bop comprising tales of loneliness and longing, mixed with echoes of jolly, country-style guitar. Another single leading the album’s release is the rhythmically intricate ‘Questions’; where the ever-witty lyrics become intimate atop clap-style percussion, before a profound ending infused with brass instruments. The aptly titled ‘Summer Hill’ releases a burst of summer energy with a bassy, progressive undertone. Twinkling synths sit between vibrato-filled passionate vocals from frontwoman Joy, who consistently delivers. Her vulnerability is channeled in a myriad of ways throughout the record and so ‘Today We’re The Greatest’ expresses a fragility previously only alluded to in Middle Kids’ preceding works. This vulnerability is especially poignant in ‘Some People Stay in Our Hearts Forever’.

‘Run With You’ is truly special. As a powerful and poppy anthem written during Joy’s pregnancy (with husband and bandmate, Fitz); the sampling of their baby’s heartbeat from their 20-week sonogram brings one of the most intimate and special moments of the record. To close with its namesake, ‘Today We’re The Greatest’ ends with a sweet, elegant track brimming with nostalgia and a lingering feeling of elation. This album is exquisite in its balance and ability to weave hope into the most delicate human experiences - Middle Kids have achieved a flawless sophomore album.