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

Booker T: Potato Hole (Anti)

Booker T: Potato Hole (Anti)

This was either going to be brilliant, or . . .  First the background: here is the great soul-funk Hammond B3 organ player Booker T (he of Green Onions fame with the MGs, and that band... > Read more

Hobotalk: Homesick for Nowhere (Yellow Eye)

Hobotalk: Homesick for Nowhere (Yellow Eye)

The Scottish singer-songwriter Marc Pilley who is the hub of Hobotalk has a gentle way with his music: nothing feels forced or false, and the augmentation of his simple tunes by mandolin, violin,... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Moroccan Roast Beef inna barbecue style

Moroccan Roast Beef inna barbecue style

If you don't have a barbecue with a lid you might want to do this one in the oven, but there is nothing quite like the steamy aroma of the Moroccan flavours when you open the lid to check on this... > Read more

Bo Diddley (Dec 30, 1928 - June 2, 2008)

Bo Diddley (Dec 30, 1928 - June 2, 2008)

Tributes will come fast for this legend of rock'n'roll and all will -- or at least they should -- note that for the past four decades the man barely sold an album despite his position as a... > Read more