Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

Middle Kids – On My Knees

Rising Australian group, or output of ’00s-indie-band-name-trained neural network?


Vikram Joseph: Middle Kids have a natural flair for a great chorus (as evidenced by the wonderful “Mistake”), so it’s a shame they try so very hard here. The gorgeous shuffle of the verse needs to lead somewhere far more subtle, but instead they launch into a wall-of-sound chorus that strives for a degree of epicness that doesn’t really suit them. It’s telling that the same words and melody played over the stripped-down coda are far more effective.

Micha Cavaseno: A record that practically drools itself outward and flops upon the floor flat like a yolk, equally formless and thoughtless, were it not for the notions of “BIG SWELL CHORUS, surging urgent verses!” that indicate there was some sort of an intent to making what could be argued as a song.

Juan F. Carruyo: Haunting harmonized vocals in the verse are the sole high point between a leaden chorus and a meh instrumentation. 

Iain Mew: Nothing either side measures up, but the desperate “I SWEAR” over clobbering distorted guitars is enough to make the song. It helps that it falls in line with a lot of my aesthetic biases, but sincerity that purely concentrated remains powerful and refreshing.

Ian Mathers: My enjoyment of this is neither threatened nor enhanced by how much it sounds like a whole bunch of other young bands from the past decade. They’re from Australia, but based on the vocals you could have told me somewhere Scandinavian, British, or American and I would have found it equally plausible. The joy/melancholy balance is nicely struck but not in any particularly novel way. The chorus is nice, the verses fairly forgettable. They’ve gone for noisy over non-noisy, which is probably a plus. The biggest annoyance is just that on first listen I could swear the singer sounded exactly like someone else, and on every subsequent listen I’ve been unable to tell who I was thinking of. But if this is generic, we could be doing way worse.

Juana Giaimo: Hannah Joy’s voice is powerful, but “On My Knees” could use a little less guitar distortion — sometimes too much noise can make songs bland. Also, although lyrics don’t need to be explicit, I couldn’t avoid thinking “Really?” when I read this is about “rejecting the value system of the individual as the prime unit of society.”

Alex Clifton: It feels like the kind of song that would have hit me when I was 18 and too “alternative” for everything, and I would have played it sixty times in a row. It’s not that it’s bad–it’s really catchy–but it feels frosty, not chilly like a good summer song, and more intangible, like I’ll never be able to connect with the vocalist properly. 

Katherine St Asaph: Florence and the Festival Booking Machine.

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4 Responses to “Middle Kids – On My Knees”

  1. the drummer of this band is trying really hard and i’m not mad about it. chorus kinda sucks still

  2. I listened to this song four times in succession and couldn’t figure out what was wrong with it nor could I figure out why I didn’t like it.

  3. Juana: YES. I read that bit on Genius and must have scanned the lyrics about 5 times trying to make it make sense, before concluding that they were just making shit up.

  4. one of the other songs they put out last year, “mistake,” is AWESOME