Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Music Review: Kate Miller-Heidke - Nightfall

Following up from her hugely successful album Curiouser, Kate Miller-Heidke has released Nightflight. Her most personal album yet, filled with haunting harmonies, luscious musical hooks and enrapturing melodies.

Miller-Heidke has often been known for catchy and quirky tunes that are a little off beat but always with a powerful message. This remains unchanged yet the songs feel different and more personal with the overall album feeling a lot darker than anything we have heard from her before.

Kicking off the album is Ride This Feeling. The tune is catchy and piano driven as we have all come to know Miller-Heidke for. The lyrics are quirky and one needs to realise that she is actually describing a dream that she's had and it's enjoying the feelings inside the dream. The song is actually happy and uplifting with glorious vocal work.

Following on from the happiness is the darkest song on the album. Sarah is the story of a life event that occured for Miller-Heidke. Setting the scene at Livid festival in 1997 and the disappearance of her friend from beside her. The music is dark and terrifying when you listen to the story behind the song. The vocals and harmonisation that Miller-Heidke presents are stunningly beautiful. Sarah has to be one of the most beautifully poignant songs that Miller-Heidke has ever released.

The title track Nightflight is a return to the piano ladden track that Miller-Heidke is known for. The tale of an overnight flight and the trials that go along with it. The song is another testament to the beauty of Miller-Heidke's voice and her ability as a singer/songwriter. She truly is an amazingly talented woman. Anyone who says otherwise is lying.

Fans of Miller-Heidke will know The Tiger Will Eat the Child from her side project Fatty Gets a Stylist. Unlike the previous version, this is more acoustic and shows a tenderness which was previously hidden with the electronic measures on Fatty Gets a Stylist.

Let Me Fade is a powerful mix of isolationism, self-loating and desolation. The song has the whole feeling of someone with their hand in the air stating that they aren't waving but are drowning. The instruments are subdued and held in the background while the hushed voice of Miller-Heidke carries itself and a power behind it highlighting the enormous vocal control that Miller-Heidke possesses.

The first single to be lifted from the album is the wonderfully quirky track I'll Change Your Mind which carries it's own dark story. The music is a shadow of the pop standards that used to feature on previous releases. However when Miller-Heidke tells the story of a girl who stalks her ex-boyfriend determined to change his mind and get him to fall in love with her again, the song's story becomes darker.

Returning to the hauntingly, dark feel of the album is Humiliation. The music is more electronic than anything else on the album. The instruments are planned and played perfectly to make a gloriously moody track which carries the oppressive feeling of being humiliated and the sensation that goes along for the ride. The vocal production is emotive and will get in under your skin and reverberate within your soul.

Beautiful Darling is a break from the rest of the album in that it is a much happier inclusion. The sharing of hope, loves and dreams between lovers. The uplifting voice. The music that has a spring in it's step. It's a track that lives a happy smile on your face. The giddy heights that lightens the heart after hearing so much pain in all the previous tracks.

Finishing the album is Fire and Iron. The light and airy feel to Miller-Heidke's voice is like a slightly faded memory that still holds all the beauty and emotive power but the picture is a little distorted. The song sounds light and airy until halfway when the lyrics grow darker and the story appears. At the start, the song sounds positive and uplifting - a tale of falling in love. The heartbreak of the song comes when it describes the car accident which claims the girl's life. She watches and waits for the boy to let her go. The song does leave you with a sad smile as she realises that he's moved on when she sees him with his children.

The album is full of darkness with brief and brilliant flashes of light. Many will find the album too dark while others will embrace the beauty. The album is largely experimental for Miller-Heidke and it pays off. The album showcases her talent as a lyricist and story teller. The music is all perfectly polished. The vocal delivery flawless. The album crawls and hooks in under your skin and sits within the soul drawing out emotional memories and surrendering to the beauty of the music. Nightflight is one of the most powerful albums to be released so far this year.

Nightflight is out now through Sony Music.

1 comment:

  1. you appear to have forgotten two of the best songs on this album - In the dark & The devil wears a suit. Although i suppose i could forgive you, seeing as how there are so many other fantastics songs on it as well.