Don't be put off by the cover photo on K.T. Tunstall's follow-up to the four-million selling Eye of the Telescope. Yes, it's startling to see her sporting Buck Rogers boots and wielding a glittery, oversized silver guitar. And what's up with the comic book images that make up the CD booklet? But if Tunstall is feeling a bit like her overnight success is something out of interplanetary fiction, the new graphic "positioning" doesn’t mean the Scottish singer-songwriter has gone full-blown, diva-fied pop-rock. Rather, she's built on the success of the euphorically catchy "Suddenly I See" and "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" to craft the bouncy kiss-off of "I Don't Want You Now," and the hypnotic beat of "Hold On," with its lyrical warning (shades of Bob Marley's "Judge Not") of karma and responsibility. The new repertoire, like her sensual, slightly slurred singing, is more authoritative, polished, and less bluesy and rough-edged as Eye…, despite a British urban influence. But Tunstall paves her continuum by again using producer Steve Osborne (U2, New Order, Happy Mondays), and with two songs she recorded for the first album--the driving pop-rock of the anti-plastic surgery anthem "Saving My Face" (with its irresistible "ooh-oohs" lifting the mood), and "Funnyman," a pop-alt-folk sonic blend that flirts with electronica. Best of all, Tunstall, who veers from playing a little electric lead guitar to ukulele on the album, is decidedly intent on reprising the spare framework of the songwriter. "White Bird," the most memorable of the four songs that spotlight her poetic, pensive side, amounts to a meditation ("Half of you is heavenly/Showing off your purity"). But whether meant as a metaphor or a literal descriptive paean, a la the romantic 19th-century poets, this melancholy, quiet song finds the 32-year-old musician more confident and on top of her craft than anything on her delicious debut. On the whole, then, this solid sophomore album isn't really such a "drastic" turn. But you just might agree with the second half of her title. --Alanna Nash
Scottish singer-songwriter KT Tunstall burst onto the public consciousness last year with her gritty debut album Eye to the Telescope, a provocative sonic mesh of heartfelt pop, rootsy, electric blues, and left-field alt-rock. Eye spawned three hit singles — the Grammy-Award nominated "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree," "Suddenly I See," and "Other Side of the World" — all of which became omnipresent on radio, television, movies, and the Internet. Thanks to the multi-media exposure, Eye is certified platinum in the U.S., with worldwide sales exceeding 3.5 million copies.
Now Tunstall is readying her follow-up, entitled Drastic Fantastic, which will be released by Virgin Records on September 18th, 2007. It showcases the 31-year-old's growth as both a songwriter and musician on songs like the thumping "Hold On," the rollicking "Saving My Face," the jazz-inflected "Someday Soon," and the frisky pop gem "I Don’t Want You Now." "I wanted to be braver," Tunstall says of the album. "I wanted to push the musicality. You can't let previous success scare you away from moving on."
KT Tunstall Photos
More from KT Tunstall
Eye to the Telescope
KT Tunstall Holiday Gift Pack [2 CDs, 1 DVD]
KT Tunstall' s Acoustic Extravaganza
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