As we count down to Tiger Suit, KT Tunstall’s new third album, this week is a double LP of the week, featuring KT’s first two albums, Eye to the Telescope and Drastic Fantastic.
Scottish singer-songwriter KT Tunstall was brought up from fairly humble beginnings. She was adopted early on, and her adopted family had no interest in music. Eventually she found herself in New England, and busking on Church Street in Burlington, Vermont. I was surprised to learn that, as I am very familiar with Burlington, and Church Street, as it is a few short hours from here!
She spent time in her twenties playing in bands, and honing her craft. She eventually signed with Relentless Records (owned by EMI/Virgin), and 2004 saw the release of her debut, Eye to the Telescope. Much of her North American success is actually thanks to Katharine McPhee who chose to sing “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” on American Idol.
For the most part, Eye to the Telescope, is a very mellow, mature release. The mellow, slower tracks, have a considerable folk feel to them. “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree”, along with “Suddenly I See” are up-tempo alt/indie rock tracks, that are as catchy as well written. Both penned entirely by KT. In fact the entire album was written by here, along with a single co-writer on seven tracks.
Production duties were handed over to Steve Osborne, Andy Green, and Martin Terefe. Steve Osborne would be the sole producer on her follow up Drastic Fantastic. His production credits go back to the end of the 1980’s/90’s, working with the likes of Happy Mondays, Lush, and Suede. And the past decade with Elbow, Doves, Lamb, and Sophie Ellis-Bextor.
“Under the Weather” is a nice example of a well written track, as it actually refers to the weather (“Under this national rain cloud”), as opposed to being sick, and has the grey weather stay indoors feel to it.
Drastic Fantastic continues where Eye to the Telescope left off, if at the very least as being the follow up album. It is more up-tempo as a whole. However it does feel like a natural evolution, as it does contain the mid/up-tempo tracks, yet still has the tracks reminiscent of the slower ones from Eye to the Telescope. Also, as with Eye to the Telescope, Drastic Fantastic was written entirely by KT with a few select co-writers.
The album starts with a couple all around very well done alt-rock tracks, and track three, “White Bird”, move back to the folky feel of Eye to the Telescope. From there, “Funnyman”, track four, a catchy mid-tempo track apparently about Gordon Anderson of The Beta Band and The Aliens who she lived with for a while. It continues with the first excellent single, “Hold On”.
All in all, Drastic Fantastic carries over well from Eye to the Telescope. It being perhaps a little more stripped, and leaning again, to the more mid to up-tempo tracks. Of course along with being singer-songwriter, she plays guitar and other instruments as well. Also, a pretty sweet album cover!
Tiger Suit will be released in the UK on the 27 of this month, and October 5 in North America.