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4.3 out of 5 stars134
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 10 June 2013
I was a fan of KT Tunstall' first album, Eye to the Telescope, but I didn't find either of her next two nearly as good. While this album doesn't have the same folk-pop feel of her debut, I think it's miles better. She recorded this album in Arizona, and the country influences show through, and there isn't quite as much folk in this offering.
KT has said in interviews that the death of her father was a big influence, and it shows with a more sombre Tunstall over the opening few tracks. 'Invisible Empire' and 'Made of Glass' are both great tracks, with KT' voice right at the front carrying some lovely lyrics such as 'I wear a rusting crown, I know this dynasty is falling'. It's obvious from the opening tracks that this is a much deeper album.
As the name, Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon suggests, this is an album of two halves. While the first, Invisible Empire, deals with the death of her father, the second Crescent Moon, deals with the collapse of her marriage. The second half of the album has a different tone, one that deals less with mortality, and feels more reflective.
The stand out track from the second half is 'Feel it All'. The vocals on this track are just packed with emotion, and I feel this is probably KT' best tracks to date. The next track, 'Chimes' is a great collaboration with Howe Gleb. It feels so gentle and delicate and full of heartfelt emotion, as so much of this album is.
Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon is possibly Tunstall' best album yet, and I feel it's one that will age very well. I would love to see this performed in an intimate venue somewhere in the depths of Edinburgh' Old Town. A definite five star album.
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The moment you hear the first tentative, gentle bars of opening song, "Invisible Empire", you know that this, her fourth full studio album, is going to be something different from Kate. I was a huge admirer of her début album, "Eye To The Telescope" but felt that each subsequent album had less to offer than the previous, so my expectations were lower for this release. The sad loss of her Father and the break-up of her marriage, however, have provided (I'm sure, unwanted) material for an album full of painfully emotional lyrics and a more stripped down, vulnerable sound. KT's vocals are very prominent throughout, being the main instrument on this album and it's clear that she has some important things she needs to express. It would be difficult to categorise this album as there are elements of folk and jazz, but it has most definitely not been written to appeal to the pop mainstream. This is a carefully sculpted piece of art which requires your full attention to gain full appreciation of, not something that should be relegated to background music whilst you carry on with other tasks.

This is a remarkably good, honest album, with a depth and maturity to the writing that you could argue has only been occasionally present in Tunstall's previous work and there are many notable performances. "Made Of Glass" is a truly beautiful track that anybody who has suffered heartbreak can relate to with lyrics such as, "I'm tired of thinking of you/each and every minute I see something I know that you'd love" which ends with a Andrew Bird's mellifluous whistling. "How You Kill Me" continues that theme, of someone's life and dream being crushed by a relationship and "Yellow Flower" is such an emotionally affecting and gorgeously melodic piece, surely about coping with the imminent passing of a loved one. "Waiting On The Heart" has a very grand, cinematic feel to it, "Feel It All" manages to convey the raw, heightened state of somebody assessing their emotions after dramatically life-changing events and "Honeydew" is as lovely as the title suggests, being a subtly beauteous ode to love. "No Better Shoulder" is a bitter-sweet end to a rather fine album and the haunting guitars perfectly mirror the haunted theme of the words. The bonus track, a full band "jam" version of "Feel It All" is rather good indeed, boasts a moody but satisfying guitar solo and is the song most likely from this set to receive radio play.

There is a certain weight to the claims that this is KT Tunstall's best album yet, however, it really shouldn't be forgotten just how superb her début was. They're such different pieces of work that it is extremely difficult to compare the two and it's probably a waste of effort attempting to. My opinion is that "Invisible Empire//Crescent Moon" is, without doubt, her most accomplished piece of work and, whilst it doesn't have the huge, infectious songs that made "Eye To The Telescope" such a runaway success, it has a more powerful emotional pull than anything she has ever released before. I'm not writing "Drastic Fantastic" or "Tiger Suit" off, incidentally, they are both decent albums, but both didn't compare favourably in the shadow of her immense début. Pleasingly, KT has now created a piece of work which not only compares, but creates debate amongst fans as to which is better. I think that alone should tell you just how good this album is - I'm only sorry that she had to go through so much in her life to write these exquisitely painful but beautifully human songs.
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on 10 June 2013
This is a real treat to hear KT Tunstall going back to a stripped back sound. Her voice is right out there. I know that she wrote the songs around events the loss of her father and also the break up of her marriage, however, don't come to this album thinking it is going to be full of tragedy. I think I read that she said that it is melancholy and certainly she could not be criticised for that being a predominant emotion during the recording. I however would consider it introspective rather than melancholy. Her voice is beautifully exposed in these sparse settings. This is an utterly brilliant album with all the heart and soul that her fans could possibly want, but very different from her previous work without doing a diservice to either.

This woman can go in whatever direction she likes after this on her own terms.
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I found this album filed, as I expected, in the mainstream pop/rock section of the local record store, but I think it really belongs in contemporary folk. Of course, marketing departments (whether within record labels or retail outlets) have their own reasons for classifying music, usually money, but misleading customers is never a good idea. I like folk music anyway, my tastes being somewhat eclectic, so I am very happy with this album. I figured that this might be a folk album anyway based on the cover, showing an Arizona landscape. I'd been meaning to buy some of her music since hearing her as a guest on Moving Out To The Country (Jools Holland and guests), and she easily lived up to expectations.

KT not only sings but was involved in almost every aspect of the creative process, writing most of the songs, co-writing the others, playing various types of guitars and pianos, co-producing the album and even being art director.

The first single, Feel it all, is presented in two versions, the main (but not only) difference being the addition of an electric guitar on the band jam version. Electric guitars feature on several tracks, but not the basic version of Feel it all. There is the occasional pedal steel, but you'll have to listen closely to hear it.

This is an excellent comtemporary folk album that I hope KT and her fans are proud of.
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on 10 June 2013
Unlike the previous reviewers, I am actually quite a fan of her previous two albums, and not so much of her first album. Having listened to her first album more since, I realised it is a grower and is not as easy-listening as the other two. I feel her latest album is much more intense than any of her other albums and therefore requires more intense listening, but it is so worth it. I have been listening to this on and off all day, and each time I hear something I didn't hear before, the production on this track is exceptional and it has quite a haunting energy, which when listened to in a quiet room is stunning. It has a folk vibe and is minimalist in its use of instruments, which allows KT's voice to shine.

Best tracks for me are Invisible Empire (quite folky and very light), Yellow Flower (very simple, but KT somehow manages to make it meaningful), Crescent Moon (piano on this.. amazing and so moving), and I'm quite partial to her latest single, Feel It All (the band jam version especially). And this is where the album loses a star for me, with Feel It All being the only uptempo track on the album I think I would find this album difficult to listen to all day. It is not a depressing album, and I understand KT's reasons for not wanting uptempo tracks on the album, however I think it needs a couple to keep the listener engaged as sometimes slower tracks tend to be overlooked. The deuluxe version includes a track "Hallowed Ground" which is uptempo and is, I think worth buying for this track if you enjoy KT's energetic side. Buy it and give it a good listen.
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on 29 October 2013
When my car was stolen this album was in it. I didn't replace all the stolen albums but this one was a must to replace. I was tempted into this album when I heard a pre-release of Feel It All and was mesmerised by the music video of the track. (Nice that this track appears twice on the album.) It is more chilled than her previous albums and shows another side to her talent. KT's voice is hauntingly beautiful. The lyrics are meaningful and not just there to fill the music. I can listen to it over and over. So glad that I have tickets to see her perform songs from the album.
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on 11 November 2013
I love KT Tunstall's music anyhow, so had high expectations for this album. First play I was a bit disappointed but perservered and after 4/5 listens she'd got me. I went to see KT perform at the Derngate theatre and she worked her socks off. It was a one woman band, however she made it sound like the rest of the band was there. Absolutely superb, I recommend this album, all her other albums and go see her live!!!
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on 9 August 2014
Absolutely beautiful album. I've been a fan since buying her first album as a student and I'd say this is her best album. If you liked 'Silent sea' and 'Through the dark' from her earlier days this album returns to that style - simple beautiful, pure singing, meaningful lyrics, songs that make you want to cry but make you feel better at the same time. I particularly love 'Made of glass' and 'How you kill me.'
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on 2 May 2014
I loved KT Tunstall's first CD, but was disappointed by her second. This, however, is my favourite. It seems that emotional turmoil leads to excellent song writing and knowing the background the material comes from makes it very real and personal. I cry listening to some of them, they're so moving. A real talent!
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on 29 June 2013
I absolutely love KT's voice, so I may be a bit biased. The album is pretty laid back and mellow. There is only one song I don't care for, the one with the goofy synthesizer-like sounds overwhelming what would be a very meditative piece. The girl can sing! Plus, she's a damn good guitarist - and her songs are very well done. "Honey Dew" is my favorite so far - it's a happy little tune. My thanks to KT Tunstall for putting out another terrific album, and to AmazonUK for getting it to me so soon after its European release.
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