MISS INDEPENDENT KATE MILLER-HEIDKE HITS NEW LOCAL HEIGHTS
Australian singer Kate Miller-Heidke has returned to dizzying vocal heights after leaving her label to independently release her fourth album.
O Vertigo is a feisty, more resolute statement from the singer, who is best known for her affecting raw ballads.
Her nimble voice still has a trademark classical edge, jumping intervals with haughty flair. But she isn’t just Kate Bush with a turntable.
Miller-Heidke seems to have something to say, rallying against the “haters” with self-affirming lyrics about living life on her own terms.
“I’m sick of turning it down, I’m sick of holding it in, I’m sick of tiptoeing ’round, quietly bleeding,” she sings on the record’s first track, Offer It Up.
It’s a fitting description of the 32-year-old’s musical journey. Miller-Heidke parted ways last year with Sony, her long-time record label, and turned to crowd-funding platform PledgeMusic for her latest album.
Fans rallied in record time, helping Miller-Heidke reach her financial target in three days.
In turn, the singer has given the public what they want, with a little extra thrown into the mix.
Miller-Heidke broke on to mainstream air waves in 2008 with the catchy Can’t Shake It. Since then, pop-opera folk has been mastered by the hugely successful Florence and the Machine, as well as Kiwi songstresses Kimbra and Lorde.
The Opera Australia performer can sing, no doubt about it, but the vocal pyrotechnics on MillerHeidke’s album at times distract from the songwriting.
There are many styles on this album and some of the results are an acquired taste.
The trilly yodelling of the title track’s chorus is catchy but maybe not in an entirely welcome way.
On the other hand, MillerHeidke’s collaboration with Megan Washington, Ghost, is very danceable – in contrast to the melancholy of her folk-rock ballad Share Your Air with British singer Passenger.
Sing to Me is inoffensively rousing, with a solid bassline to give her lofty vocals a bit more punch – a promise fulfilled by the following track, Drama, which has the ratbag rockiness of a 1990s graduation tune.
O Vertigo is in effect a yodel – repeated changes of pitch, as well as style and moods by Miller-Heidke, who makes no apologies for showing off her musical range.
Kate Miller-Heidke plays Byron Bay Bluesfest, Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm, on April 19.