As we all know, new music is good. Very good in fact. And it’s also very nice for that music to keep coming from people we’ve never heard of before. But sometimes it’s nice to go back to someone(s) familiar.
In this case we have the lovely KT Tunstall and her new album “Tiger Suit”.
I remember seeing her on her own at the ICA in London with nothing more than her guitar and her AKAI looping machine and being amazed by her raw talent.
She’s come a long way since then and I think she was losing a lot of her initial appeal by becoming more ‘refined’. That sounds silly doesn’t it? Her performances improved every time, and the talent was there, but with ever bigger bands and more polish, I felt that she lost some of her individuality – never her talent though!
For those of you that have never heard of her, KT Tunstall is a singer-songwriter from Edinburgh, Scotland. Born to a half-Chinese mother and an Irish Dad, she was put up for adoption just days after she was born. She honed her musical skills busking and playing for various bands before her first big break filling in for Nas on ‘Later with Jools Holland’.
Her first album was ‘Eye to the Telescope’ and it’s simply cracking. She followed that up with ‘Drastic Fantastic’… actually, she released an acoustic album in between called ‘Acoustic Extravaganza’ but that was mail order only so I’m not going to count it. Both albums were very good but sounded similar relying on her guitar skills and a simple format, the formula was starting to lose it’s magic.
So here comes ‘Tiger Suit’. More of the same? A bit boring? Too much polish and not enough spit? Err… no. This is quite a departure from her normal sound and it’s very refreshing and welcome! It’s still full of wonderful guitar sounds – that’s KT’s thing after all – but now there is more focus on creating different sounds and a sense of experimentation. Each song comes along with the wonderful care and attention of a skilled craftsman but there is the added extra of the unexpected that makes this album stand out from her previous work.
As I said earlier, I love her first two albums but I think another one of the same would have been a mistake and put people off. This is different enough to avoid that. A part refinement and a part departure. Songs like “(Still a ) Weirdo” and “Uummannaq Song” have extra bits ‘n’ pieces that help to define the record whilst songs like the closing “The Entertainer” show her roots whilst still managing to… well, entertain.
I don’t think this quite trumps her first album but maybe that’s me being a bit sentimental. This certainly comes a very close second though and I really recommend it.
With so many albums relying on electronic and artificial sounds (not that those are necessarily bad), it’s nice to have some of that raw talent back.
Go buy it!
3 G’s for this on.