Album Review: Hungry Kids Of Hungary ‘Escapades’

This debut album from Brisbane lads Hungry Kids Of Hungary has been a long time coming, but it manages to perfectly encapsulate everything that is great about their preceding EPs and their energetic live shows while still adding something new.

In other words, it achieves everything that a debut album should.

This being said, the majority of the album will be familiar for those who have been following Hungry Kids Of Hungary’s young career. Just how much to draw on earlier releases is always a dilemma for bands putting together their debut album, and HKOH have gone with the all out approach, including pretty much all of their familiar song and fan favourites.

This serves to create a very strong, polished, and well balanced album, much more so than most debut records. The first official single, Wristwatch, immediately captures your attention with its early placement, frantic pace, and Vampire Weekend-esque chorus.

But to me there are much more memorable songs on ‘Escapades’, especially Let You Down, which is my favourite track on the record, and has been remastered and remixed, created a much more polished track than the original single. It is an incredibly infectious song, exhibiting everything that can be so great about indie pop.

Likewise Scattered Diamonds, their breakout song, fits into this mould, as a song you just want to perpetually dance to on a warm summer day, even though no studio version of this song can do justice to the wonderful and energetic live rendition.

There is a lot of depth to this surprisingly eclectic album however. You get the feeling that Hungry Kids could easily have just belted out 11 tracks of warm pop music, but to their credit they haven’t. Opener Coming Around, for example, sounds uncannily like an early Barenaked Ladies ironic ballad, written about a failed relationship.

Meanwhile Eat Your Heart Out is a more laid-back track, with a backing electric guitar riff that could almost be classified as country, and drawing heavily on acoustic guitar as well. China Will Wait and The Vacationer get the album back to its warm pop sound for a great conclusion to the record, but by the time you get there you really have experienced the full spectrum of what these guys are capable of.

It’s hard to be overly excited about an album when you are already familiar with half the tracks. But equally, it would be a crime not to be excited about ‘Escapades’, if only because it so perfectly encapsulates everything that is great about this Brisbane outfit. For new comers to their music, this will be one hell of a ride, and for fans it will provide some nice throwbacks to live shows and contain a few surprises as well.

This is a debut album pretty much impossible to criticise, and is the perfect listen as summer fast approaches.

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