K.T. Tunstall: Invisible Empire/Crescent Moon (Virgin)

 |   |  <1 min read

K.T. Tunstall: Old Man Song
K.T. Tunstall: Invisible Empire/Crescent Moon (Virgin)

Recording with the insightful Howe Gelb (Giant Sand, from which Calexico emerged) in Tucson with his Danish band (plus guests like Andrew Bird), Tunstall – who appeared in Neil Finn's Seven Worlds Collide concerts – here turns things down from the electro-beat she explored on 2010's Tiger Suit (recorded in Berlin) in favour of her folk-poetry persona, with a nod to alt.country.

While Gelb's distinctively angular piano and guitar provide gloriously discreet but diverting colour, always central is Tunstall's emotion-driven lyrics which – because her dad and a close friend died recently – allude to mortality (the exceptional Made of Glass with Bird adding impressive whistling), space in relationships (the trembling noir-like How You Kill Me could be a torch song), hope and the power of love (most of the more expansively produced second half).

And it sounds extremely intimate (you're in the front parlour for Yellow Flower which sounds a near-perfect rehearsal with just her and Gelb).

This is slow, muted-lighting music and what carries it, other than engrossing words and a persuasive voice, is the melodic ease on display.

Everything here rings of emotions lived, then placed in sympathetic musical settings.

Rare beauty and a heart revealed.

Share It

Your Comments

Dee - Aug 20, 2013

Wonderful! I love KT Tunstall but didn't realise she had released a new album. It seems to me from these two tracks that her voice is stronger and lovelier than ever, maybe because it (and her gorgeous lyrics) are allowed to take precedence big production and guitar sounds.

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Girls Pissing on Girls Pissing: Songs of Sodomy and the Compost of Aethyr (Muzai)

Girls Pissing on Girls Pissing: Songs of Sodomy and the Compost of Aethyr (Muzai)

For reasons we can't and won't fully explain, Elsewhere has always found something of considerable interest in the archly arty, post-punk/experimentalism and enjoyably indulgent shadowland... > Read more

9Bach: Tincian (Real World/Southbound)

9Bach: Tincian (Real World/Southbound)

On the Real World label founded by Peter Gabriel, this Welsh duo of singer/pianist Lisa Jen and guitarist Martin Hoyland (with guests on percussion, harmonium, bass, harp and backing vocals)... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE ADMIRAL: ROARING CURRENTS, a film by KIM HAN-MIN (Madman Blu-ray/DVD)

THE ADMIRAL: ROARING CURRENTS, a film by KIM HAN-MIN (Madman Blu-ray/DVD)

At the end of the 16th century — around the time Shakespeare was writing The Merchant of Venice and Sir Walter Raleigh was a hero of his people -- events of a very different kind were... > Read more

Mark Knopfler: Why the long face, son?

Mark Knopfler: Why the long face, son?

When former Dire Straits man Mark Knopfler came to New Zealand to play in 2005 I read the interview in the Herald about his terrible motorcycle accident . . . and burst out laughing. Not... > Read more