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

Betty Davis: They Say I'm Different (Light in the Attic)

Betty Davis: They Say I'm Different (Light in the Attic)

No, this isn't here just so we can display the striking cover of the former Mrs Miles Davis looking like some astral traveller from Ziggy Stardust's planet. In fact this is something of lost... > Read more

Jah Wobble: Welcome to My World (30 Hertz/Southbound)

Jah Wobble: Welcome to My World (30 Hertz/Southbound)

Jah Wobble has been one of the most interesting and innovative musical explorers of the past few decades but, as I discovered in '96 at the time of this interview – he does it mostly... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE BEATLES; THE TOURING YEARS (2016): So you still wanna be a rock'n'roll star?

THE BEATLES; THE TOURING YEARS (2016): So you still wanna be a rock'n'roll star?

Near the end of the Beatles' Anthology John Lennon – his voice from beyond the grave – says with a pithy reflection, the Beatles were a great little rock'n'roll band. If that... > Read more

THE ROLLING STONES; HAVANA MOON (Sony DVD/2CD)

THE ROLLING STONES; HAVANA MOON (Sony DVD/2CD)

Much as we who have grown up and old with the Rolling Stones might laugh at the sight of Mick Jagger dancing like some skinny mannequin being electrocuted, others see the Stones spectacle... > Read more