Australian singer-songwriter Kate Miller-Heidke is a kooky character. She's not afraid to play around with her classically trained voice, whether she's growling, hiccupping and burbling up into a flirty falsetto over an infectious lounge beat on "God's Gift to Women," or mashing up the sinuous moan of a Britney Spears with the triumphant soprano of an ABBA chorus on "The One Thing I Know." Miller-Heidke is best when she's goofy, as on "Politics in Space," a song so silly and stagy it would be at home on a Pink Floyd album (were it not for the great line, "The '60s were 50 years ago, you know. Get over it!")
But that nutty persona is hard to sustain for an entire album, and the balance of Curiouser, the album that might bring her stateside fame, is done in a sweet and breathy style that is appealing but a little bland. "The Last Day On Earth" has already paved the way with a debut on the Aussie soap "Neighbors," and I'll admit it's a solid ballad, but I prefer the ethereal "Our Song," which Miller-Heidke somehow renders too pretty to collapse under the weight of sappy sentiments.
Kate Miller-Heidke opens for Ben Folds at the Wilma Theatre Wednesday, Oct. 21, at 7:30 PM. $29.50 plus fees.