Middle Kids : Faith Crisis Pt 1

Middle Kids Faith Crisis Pt 1 review

Middle Kids solidify their place as top-tier indie pop for the more discerning listener on their third album, Faith Crisis Pt 1. They might not get their 15 minutes of TikTok fame, but there is more to their music than beats engineered for making dance clips. The Australian group are thoughtfully heartfelt in their writing, even as their latest set of songs is more slickly produced than what they brought to the table on their previous album, Today We’re the Greatest. Hannah Joy’s vocals are not quite as vulnerable this time around, coated instead with a layer of sugar. But the strength of the songs remains high, remaining true to who they are as artists. 

The entertainment value is at its peak on Faith Crisis Pt 1, as the band leans away from introspection and more toward a consistently upbeat mood. This is where the often self-deprecating lyrics are delivered with a spoonful of sugar to help make the bitter taste of the honesty behind them go down. Tim Fitz and Jonathan Gilmore’s production offers more complexity, sonically drawing the band closer to triangulating between HAIM and Boygenius. Though Middle Kids are still not quite as radio-ready as HAIM, even on more anthemic songs like “The Blessings,” this nonetheless works in their favor, playing to their strengths as an earnest and anthemic band.

“Bootleg Firecracker” is not far removed from what Taylor Swift did on her Folklore album, yet Joy’s vocals are more reserved, as she is not swinging for the kind of massive choruses that put Swift on billion-dollar tours. Nor do they need to be. Middle Kids are a proper band rather than merely a vessel for the songwriting, placing the guitars at the forefront rather than keeping the emphasis always on the vocals, and as such give the song more breathing room. “Bend” finds Hannah strumming her way through what at first feels like a ballad until it gains more dynamic traction. The bass line to “Go to Sleep on Me” takes more prominence, yet when the guitar comes in it feels more like The Cure’s poppier moments. There is an indie rock shuffle to “Terrible News,” and the group continue to prove themselves lyrically superior to the many of their mainstream contemporaries with songs like “Philosophy.” 

Faith Crisis Pt 1 sets a high bar for what indie pop needs to live up to in 2024. It is possessed by a subtle perfection that becomes clearer with each listen and finds the group sharpening their songwriting while retaining their immediacy. While the accessibility of Today We’re the Greatest might be a more natural entry point for new listeners, Faith Crisis Pt 1 stands to broaden their audience without losing their identity to the corporate music machine.

Label: Lucky Number

Year: 2024

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Middle Kids Faith Crisis Pt 1 review

Middle Kids : Faith Crisis Pt 1

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