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Curiouser

Kate Miller-Heidke

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Album Review

Kate Miller-Heidke's second album finds her continuing to develop her own voice, but not by the standard tactic of stripping the music back and letting it stand alone. Instead, she adds to it, more of everything layered on top. Her band is more present than ever and sounds like a real band, their quirks and backing vocals recognizable from track to track. Co-songwriter Keir Nuttall's jerky, robotic guitar and sometimes-froggy baritone are a welcome presence on songs like "Can't Shake It." The album's first single is as danceable a song about not being able to dance as has ever been written. The titular "It" the singer "Can't Shake" is simultaneously her feeling that she looks like an idiot on the dancefloor and her self-consciousness about her own petite butt, bless her neuroses. Like a kind of Alice's Adventures in Pop/Rock Land, the album tumbles through a rabbit-hole full of bouncy, irrepressible guitar- and keyboard-led songs. "Caught in the Crowd" tells an affecting story of schoolyard bullying, showing an impressive grasp of narrative flow, while "Politics in Space" shows just as impressive a grasp of scattershot nonsense; the lyrics sounding like a collection of placeholder rhymes that fit the tune so well they were never replaced with anything more substantial, collapsing delightfully into a pile of solos and giggling by the end. A few of her more downbeat songs about endings (whether about a relationship, school, or the world) falter — they lack hooks and sound like ethereal clouds that threaten to float away, wistful to the point of being wispy and easily forgotten. Other songs are immediate and infectious. Curiouser cements Miller-Heidke's position as a unique voice, brash and theatrical but with enough texture and grain to give her songs honesty and emotional depth.

Biography

Born: 16 November 1981

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s

Kate Miller-Heidke was fully trained as a lead opera vocalist — soprano — and was ready to go into a career of Gilbert & Sullivan roles when pop music beckoned. She has since become a piano-playing singer/songwriter in the Kate Bush mold, popular for her theatricality, mixture of folk and pop, and the touches of comic opera she inserts into her songs. As a young girl, Miller-Heidke would charge her family five cents for household performances. It was a long way from there to her position...
Full bio
Curiouser, Kate Miller-Heidke
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