Review Summary: Curiously curious is Kate Miller-Heidke’s follow-up to the previous year’s Little Eve. Returning stronger and bolder, it’s a compelling feeling to find her in similar territory, but with a lot more ostentation.
She needed to find a place in that ever-changing hairdo to rest her idea palette. Curiouser
witnesses her doing just that, and more efficiently than ever. Here, infectious melodies and frivolous lyrics dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s in a musically responsible yet liberated manner. It seems that her operatic imagery is merely a lockbox for her vocal delivery where she can pull it out when it’s needed, and lock it away when it’s not. At a first glance this vocal line is well suited to both its heredity, but more so, its mutations, which let’s face it, make this recording measurably different from her others.
It sounds less forced, and less predictable, but most likely more understandable to a wider audience. Sure this may be part of some larger equation, but she and her partner, co-writer and guitarist Keir Nuttall find all the right solutions for its possible pitfalls during most of the album's twelve installments. One way of which is opening the album remarkably well through “The One Thing I Know”
and its compounder “God’s Gift to Women”
; both that use a quirky and mysterious verse structure built from her fantastic vocal diversity, before they turn unexpectedly inside out into fun loving pop rock choruses with a beat to go. It’s this subtle polarity between moods that provide the foundations for her to build the rest of this modern pop-rock opera house.
But if anything is true, though, it’s that her vocal roots are only present on this as back filling for her other vocal experimentation such as swiftly swelling from a lowly-sounding tone to a brief shrilling climax during many of the tracks; or the other side of the stage where she coasts along in a more comfortable range. These flourishes happen when you’d most expect them -- the oddball accompaniments meet the witty comic opera in 75% of the tracks while the reflective search for its insightful cousins in the remainder.
The thoughtful contemporary fluidity in the singles “Caught in the Crowd”
and “The Last Day on Earth”
(the former winning an international composition award in 2008) will ensure her next voicing will be met with much anticipation. It’s still a shame however that the album’s opening is not reflected through its ending. In fact the first half is never quite matched by the second, other than “Motorscoocter’s”
French-spoken bridge and the earlier “I Like You Better When You’re Not Around’s”
rapping resentment. In a sort-of musical (even visual) similarity to Kate Bush
’s abstraction, Miller-Heidke could easily detract if she went overboard with her stylishness, however that is a question left her next effort; at present her current one is working easily towards continual future success.