When you’re the middle child, you’re stuck in between the first-born and the “baby”. The feeling of being left out starts to sink in, and you’re role in the family starts to diminish. For Australian indie rock band that adopted the name Middle Kids, their music has a resembling sentiment—trying to find purpose and clarity of who you are, what you are now becoming.

Led by lead singer/guitarist Hannah Joy and husband Tim Fitz on bass, with Harry Day on drums, the Sydney trio made a nice splash in 2017 with their heavenly jam, ‘Edge of Town’, streaming over 14 million plays on Spotify thus far. Musically akin to other emerging female-led rock acts like Wolf Alice and Bully, the triad is ready for full breakout mode with their rousing debut LP, Lost Friends. At the intersection of where unadulterated indie rock meets a tinge of alt-country rock, the album is an earnest collection of jams with distorted guitars paired with lead singer Hannah Joy’s rich and poised vibrato. With heartfelt jams one after the other, featuring the likes of slide guitars, poignant songwriting, and earnest vocals, the 12-track record unexpectedly sneaks up on you like an old familiar smile. Lost Friends begs for repeated listens as the nuances settle in, the vision becomes clearer, and the humanistic core of it all is revealed with insightfulness and sharp-wit.

The album’s opener, ‘Bought It’ is a deeply engaging preview of what’s in store. The promising track delivers a sense of vulnerability before it erupts into a full-blown cacophony. Right off the bat, flashes of brilliance are on display with Joy entirely unflinching in her vocal cadence. A unique concoction of harsh productions and heartfelt lyrics survey the scene on Lost Friends’ lead track. Follow-up jam, ‘Mistake’ finds itself at the juncture of earnest indie rock and radio-ready pop. Rhythmically different than the lead track, it's sweeping with vigor and high spirits. Largely cathartic, the second song soars with nostalgic guitars and pulsating drums accompanied by the honest lyrics of trying to make things right again. ‘Edge of Town’, the single off the band’s first EP, finds its home on Lost Friends. At about a year old already, it’s still a stunner in every way possible. Dramatic vocals blended with a poignant narrative, ‘Edge of Town’s’ segue onto Middle Kids’ debut LP is fitting and feels just as fresh as it did the first time we heard it.

‘On My Knees’ navigates through beautiful echoes of dissonant guitars, hard-hitting lyrics, and Joy’s bellowing vocals. With lyrics such as, “I am the second hand, I am a roadside distraction / And they're looking at me as if I got what they need / But I don't got it, don't got it, don't got it,” the tune’s theme is how we strive perfection, but it’s okay not landing perfectly with everything we set out to do. You know, embrace the disappointments as much as our successes. ‘On My Knees’ is in complete overdrive with an infectious chorus as it journeys through the emotional tides of disappointment and anguish. Like most tracks here, Middle Kids grasp onto everyday life situations with keen perspicacity and sensibility. This is all put together in a caliginous guitar-pop package. The true highlight arrives toward the end of the album with ‘Tell Me Something’. An effective, stirring execution of profound allure and melancholy, ‘Tell Me Something’ elevates the record to a new apex of undeniable catharsis. Wisely performed with inviting guitars and longing vocals, the song’s lyrics balance the dichotomy of hopelessness and hopefulness, leaning back and forth on one another.

As one makes their way to the closing track, ‘So Long Farewell’, you think you’d be done with any more surprises, right? Think again. Here’s another understated gem, tugging at one’s heartstrings with sheer beauty and unquestionable electricity running through it. It’s one of those songs that’s unhurried at first, letting you settle into it’s graceful rhythm. As you move along with it, keeping up its nuances and ruminations, it launches into another aural stratosphere of pure wonder. In the end, Lost Friends is a shape-shifting, intimate, and reflective body of work. With its 12 tracks swerving through delicate gusts of unalloyed indie rock, lamenting piano ballads, and rock anthems intended to incite arena-sized sing-alongs, Middle Kids knock it out of the park on just their first at bat.