Feature, News, Reviews

Middle Kids Release New Single and Video “Highlands”

July 26, 2023
Photo Credit: Seiya Taguchi

Release New Single “Highlands”

Sydney-based three-piece Middle Kids today release their latest single “Highlands”.

“Highlands” showcases everything that has made Middle Kids such a formidable force in recent years. The band take the bare-bones of indie-rock (guitar, bass, drums) and elevate their songs with an astonishing and euphoric vocal performance, scorching production and an incomparable pop-sensibility. The result is a song which grabs the listener from the opening bars and doesn’t let go for a thrilling three-and-a-half minutes.

“Highlands” is the band’s second song to be produced by Jonathan Gilmore, who is renowned for his work with The 1975 and Beabadoobee (amongst others). The song follows their recent single “Bootleg Firecracker” which weaved together intricate acoustic melodies and unconventional drum production which set it apart from their previous repertoire and ushered in a new era for the band.

The new single is accompanied by an extraordinary video directed by Toby Morris who took the band to shoot in the New South Wales highlands surrounding Jindabyne. The spectacular beauty of the region is offset by stunt driving, helicopters, horses, motorcycles and the Southern Hemisphere’s largest car-wrecking yard. The visual feast matches the ferocious immediacy of the song.

Middle Kids have this remarkable energy and stunning songwriting skills, they can adapt their music to reflect any emotion mirrored through their notes. They can flawlessly alter the consuming and attentive atmosphere they craft, each track has its own vital meaning. This skill is on full display with the new single. Middle Kids create immersive music that connects with the audience and enhances this feeling of freedom within their creations. The listener connects to the euphoric energy of Middle Kids, present in all they do. The new single embellishes that wild power and provides this compelling hook. Melody oozes from the arrangement, showcasing Joy‘s expressive vocal range that soars above the intensive guitar tonalities and the robust percussive beats.

From the first listen, you will understand the importance of the lyrics and embrace the story of the arrangement, finding a relatable path, and from the essential theme the movement of this release becomes so addictive, you’ll be singing back the chorus in no time.

Lead singer and songwriter Hannah Joy said of the song: “Since I was young, I’ve had this yearning to be free. In this song I used an image of the ‘highlands’ as a euphoric place where I have the space to be me, and you have the space to be you. Part of the imagery comes from my Scottish heritage, which my grandmother was always so proud of. I recorded some big slow piano chords which Tim mangled into the atmospheric hits in the intro.

When we finished the song with Jon Gilmore in the UK, he thought it was important that the song felt punky, like a bunch of teenagers practising in their garage. So, there are these 2 energies fighting it out – the constricted energy of the domestic space and the wide open energy of the highlands. We have a friend who calls this kind of music ‘yearncore’. It’s that impatient energy that says, ‘I can’t keep waiting, I need a change’.

The band’s last album, the critically acclaimed Today We’re The Greatest, won Best Rock Album at the 2021 ARIA Awards.  Released at the height of the pandemic, the album garnered the band several US TV show performances including Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and The Late, Late Show with James Cordon.

Middle Kids first gained attention in 2017 with their debut single, “Edge Of Town” and their debut album, Lost Friends, which won Triple J’s Best Australian Album Award in 2018. The success of their albums has also earned the band an international touring profile which has included supporting shows with the likes of Bloc PartyKings of LeonWar on Drugs and Cold War Kids. Middle Kids are currently on a 29-date tour of North America with Manchester Orchestra and Jimmy Eat World.

Highlands Artwork


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