Kate Miller-Heidke – Curiouser (2008)

I was blog-browsing last night and saw an album by Kate Miller-Heidke, Curiouser. I’d never heard of her before but I liked what I heard on her MySpace, so I checked the album out. And now I think I’ve found one of my Top 5 Albums of 2008!

l748271747b5c06e9396d56vb8The album kicks off with operatic (Kate was trained as an opera singer!) vocals and cool beats in “The One Thing I Know.” It’s a fun song with an awesome deep guitar lick. “God’s Gift To Women” has got a neat groove and even neater lyrics – “if you’re God’s gift to women, then God got it wrong – She got it wrong!” Love the “studied the practical tactics of pick-ups” bridge! The next song, “Caught In The Crowd,” is a kicky guitar-based ballad with some synth flourishes. It’s an interesting apology-in-song-form to a friend who Kate didn’t stick up for when that friend was in need. I think the song’s a little too upbeat for the lyrical content, but that’s just a small complaint.

The album’s lead single “Can’t Shake It” would be right at home on the dance floor – even though the song is all about Kate’s inability to dance! Great beats, synths, and clever lyrics combine to make a really cool song. “The Last Day On Earth” is a yearning piano-driven ballad with a lovely chorus. I really like the wordless “hey-yeah” vocal flourishes. More witty lyrics (“and I don’t really care who gave who what disease”) come in the form of “I Like You Better When You’re Not Around,” a tune about a toxic, trash-talking “friend”.

“Motorscooter” is a lot of fun but isn’t really about anything – just how Kate likes the guy’s bike better than him. In that sense, it doesn’t fit in with the rest of the tracks – which generally have a plot – but just don’t listen to the lyrics and it’ll all be OK! “The End Of School” is another pretty guitar-laced ballad, this time about how the end of school “felt like the start of something bigger.” The next track, “Politics In Space,” is just too cool. It really brings to mind early Kate Bush songs like “Them Heavy People.” (I know that the Kate-Bush-soundalike label gets placed upon undeserving artists so often, but this song really does have a KT vibe!) I love the “are you all right? pretty much” bit! The stomp and hand-clap beat, tambourine, and guitar – not to mention Kate’s excellent vocals – make this a stand-out track.

3641174775a8975043505o“Hands in the air for Supergirl!” With the funky synth bassline and pop-culture-referencing lyrics (“she’s a true believer – it’s not Jessica but Lisa when it comes to choosing Simpsons”), “Supergirl” will definitely get you waving your hands like you just don’t care! (OK, that was far too cheesy!) “Our Song” comes next and is an airy, beautiful little folk-sounding song. The final track on the album, “No Truck,” features neat synths, guitars, and keyboard – and I love those “uh-ooh-whoa”s! The end of the song has loads of guitar, “na na-na na na na na”s, and vocal licks by Kate. An epic ending to an awesome album.

Will this be my favorite album of the year? I’m not sure. I’m still feeling Monica Naranjo’s Tarantula, and I’ve got high hopes for the albums being released in November and December (namely Girls Aloud, Dido, and Britney). But Curiouser is something special and might just edge toward the top of my list!

Check out Curiouser here!