Album Review: Kate Miller-Heidke - Nightflight

22 May 2012 | 6:26 pm | Dylan Stewart

Through Nightflight, KMH’s voice sits front and centre – as it well should, as it is her trump card. The album’s content is diverse, but lyrically hit-and-miss.

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This could be it for Kate Miller-Heidke. The point in her career where she graduates from quirky, left-of-centre singer/songwriter, indie-blonde Smurfette and triple j darling, into a fully-fledged pop songstress. Her voice has never been faulted by those in the know, but the gleaming production quality of her fourth album, Nightflight, will surely launch her further into the mainstream consciousness.

Having released a number of singles and a couple of albums already, Miller-Heidke has slowly been building a reputation as a hard-working, determined woman with unbridled talent. Watching her sing live (as opposed to debate the intricacies of the national Budget – Google “Kate Miller-Heidke Q & A trainwreck” for more) is both enchanting and intimate, no matter the size of her stage or audience. Through Nightflight, KMH's voice sits front and centre – as it well should, as it is her trump card. The album's content is diverse, but lyrically hit-and-miss. The title track's description of a London escape is accurate and reminiscent of the rite of passage for so many young Australians, while the haunting Sarah foregoes rhyming couplets for real fear and horror. With more songs like these, Nightflight would be a pop gem. Lyrics such as “Beautiful darling, you make me believe/It could all be okay/Hope is a real thing,” (Beautiful Darling) and, “I drive for hours/'Round the city/But I always end up on your street,” (I'll Change Your Mind) border on cringe-worthy, and unfortunately detract slightly from the album's resonance. There are some poignant moments such as Let Me Fade with its made-for-The Voice chorus and string section, and In The Dark, a touching ode to a lost father.

So while Nightflight doesn't quite contain the alternative streak that Miller-Heidke's work has embraced in the past, it is what it is: a shiny record, bordering on overproduction but showing the potential to combine the alternative with the poptastic.