In 2010, Hungry Kids of Hungary totally won us over with their excellence. Their debut, ‘Escapades‘ ranked well up in my Top 5 albums for the year after grabbing me with its tenacity, its originality and its quality. This was the first release I’d heard from an indie rock band recording in Australian waters that sounded to me like something that could legitimately contend on an international stage. Plenty of other bands had come before the Hungry Kids and yet none seemed to offer up an album like ‘Escapades’ that, to my mind, had not and has not a dud record on it. The Hungry Kids of Hungary, ridiculous nomenclature aside, were destined for greatness because in their sweet harmonies, intelligent but not offensively intellectual lyricism and unceasing energy, I’d located a band with a sound that was readily transferable across music markets. I surmised that this was going to be a big fish escaping the small pond type of scenario.
And yet here we find ourselves, two years down the track. I boast an even more ingrained appreciation of the Brisbane quartet’s debut effort, having probably spun it more times that any other album over that period. And the Kids? Aside from touring Belgium and surrounds and recording an interesting new take on the Hungarian national anthem for local radio (gotta do with that name), they remain in the fairly unenviable position of being close to where they started out after the happy uptake of ‘Escapades’. In the meantime, of course, myriad contenders to the throne have tried their best to unseat the indie-pop darlings in my envisaged Pantheon of Australian Rock but while impressing with individual tracks, few have been able to sustain the impression over a more extended period. It’s difficult to posit with any certainty that the Hungry Kids sparked this renaissance in catchy rock but one blogger has certainly noticed an upswing in Hungarian-style tracks over the last two years.
Which leaves us with ‘Sharp Shooter’. This track, the first we’re hearing from the lads’ sophomore release ‘You’re A Shadow’ due out next March, is evidence that even in the midst of scores of bands trying on their modus operandi for style, Hungry Kids of Hungary remain effortlessly at the top of their game. If anything, ‘Sharp Shooter’, for all its unrelenting guitars, harmonic asides and keys that run underneath everything, urging it along, is more aggressive and more energetic than we’re used to hearing from the Kids. Where ‘Escapades’ was ponderous, romantic and bubbly by turns, this new track channels ‘Wristwatch‘ particularly in eschewing the notion of downtempo entirely. Even when the sweet vocal double-team of Kane Mazlin and Dean McGrath break it down around 2′, cymbal-heavy percussion hints that the slowdown in pace is only temporary. Indeed, when the song plunges back into the yelp that announces the introduction of the chorus is when I realise that two, reasonably quiet years for the Kids hasn’t blunted their ambition nor their talent. Aiming for the bigger success they so richly deserve, the Hungry Kids of Hungary hit the target with this one.
Hungry Kids of Hungary – Sharp Shooter [must see video]
Hungry Kids of Hungary – Sharp Shooter