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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 11 January 2005
I first heard KT on Mark Radcliffe's show one evening while driving back from a Moody Blues concert in Bournemouth (I have very eclectic tastes). I instantly took to her music and was really impressed by her obvious talent. This was later confirmed by her performance on Jools Holland, "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree". I pre-ordered her album and haven't stopped playing it since. In a music scene taken up with boy/girl bands and cover versions, it is so refreshing to hear a genuine singer/songwriter for a change.
"Eye to the Telescope" is one of the best albums I have heard in a long time. The "Other Side of the World" is one of those songs that hooks you after a few plays (in a perfect world would be a huge hit). Her vocals are particularly strong in "Another Place to Fall" as the band turns up the volume a notch or two. I found myself singing the chorus at full volume in the car. Her gifted guitar playing is plain to hear in the quieter songs on the album such as "Under the Weather" and "Silent Sea". These songs are exquisite. "False Alarm" is another favourite of mine with its exhausting bitter sweet sentiments of love lost. In contrast, "Suddenly I See" is really uplifting, (I would love to know who its about).
Some people have tried to compare or put KT in the same camp as Jones, Melua & Co, even Bjork (don't follow that one). Yes, she has blues, jazz, folk, rock influences in her music but it is a truly unique sound. KT will go far.
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on 3 March 2005
I read the reviews of this album and suspected it might turn out to be the usual bland, identikit solo female stuff that seems to be everywhere at the moment. Well, was I pleasantly surprised! KT Tunstall has a fantastic voice that's incredible versatile, soft and wistful (Silent Sea), gutsy and bluesy (Black Horse and the Cherry Tree) or sweet and feminine (Under the Weather)... none of the tracks on this album, though strong, would be standout, without her amazingly mature and soulful delivery. I'd recommend this if you're a fan of Rosie Brown, Norah Jones or even Feist - but be prepared for something which is just a little bit more than all of them. Powerful, rocky and luscious pop: try it, you might like it.
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on 10 January 2005
KT is a fantastic new singer songwriter with a distinctive style. This album is full of ideas and wit, the words need to be listened to, to appreciate how she has matched the music to the sentiments so well. Not easy to categorise, but easy to enjoy.
This is not the sort of music that storms the charts (it's too laid back and intelligent) so go out and buy it. We need people like KT in our lives.
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on 13 May 2005
How many times do you hear a single, love it, so you buy the album and hate it - not this time. Her guitar playing alone will make you adore this but then just add to that she writes the majority of the songs plus the voice is like nothing you've heard before, suddenly your in love. Think a slightly edgy mix of katie melua and norah jones and in a strange way your nearly of there. But with tracks such as Heel Over, Black Horse and a Cheery tree and of course Other side of the world she is so much more. Just sit back, shut up and enjoy!
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on 20 May 2005
You hear this song on the radio, "Other Side Of The World" that is, you can't miss it, it's been on the A-playlist of both Radios 1 and 2 (and the commercial ones), who is it? Synth-laden backing, and that upslide (almost a yodel) in the voice, it's like Dido but it's not her, who on earth is it?
Well, actually, I bought this album before this track was aired as the second single, but I know that this is a typical reaction, because someone asked me about it.
K T Tunstall, singer/songwriter (plays guitar and keyboards as well), hails from St Andrews, not that there's any trace of rounded Fife accent in her tomboyish, folksy/bluesy vocals. Her lyrics are baffling (well, I'm a mere man, after all). They're personal, of love rejected or unrequited, they're full of colourful imagery, but abstract, enigmatic, almost inscrutable (well, she does admit to having Chinese blood in her).
Her music sounds very familiar, derivative, you've heard similar before. The first two tracks sound to me very much like her Celtic contemporary from across the Irish Sea, Juliet Turner (from her "Black Suit" album) - it's the atmospheric synths and minor keys that do it. The two girlie ballads "Under The Weather" and "Silent Sea" would sit well on Bic Runga's album (she has Chinese ancestry too). And "Universe & U" and "False Alarm", so similar in pace and tone they should have been segued together, are uncannily Lennon-esque.
There's certainly a bagful of tunes here, and the record company will be able to perm one of five or six for the next single.
If I have a criticism it would be that the songs are a little one paced and downbeat - only the rockabilly blues of "Black Horse and The Cherry Tree" and the Wang Chung-chugging "Suddenly I See" lift the mood. Final track "Through The Dark" is a wonderfully languorous slow waltz, though, an apt closing number, to the album, to any evening in fact.
This is a very fine album, I'm torn between four and five stars, and have changed my mind several times. It doesn't quite blow my socks off, but it may well do yours.
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on 27 December 2005
This is certainly one of the best CD's I've bought in a while. I resisted the procuration...I don't buy new artistes...might download a song that tickles the earlobe, but I don't encourage whiny guitar weilding media-labled Folkies. By Hell! If your not Hank Williams, you're nobody!
My resistance crumbled. The Woohoo on "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" is reminiscent of Howlin Wolf, but contemporary (I know what I mean). Fresh, but not naive is the air that wafts through these gorgeous compositions. Pretty much every song is a highlight. My brother thinks Ms Tunstall sounds spookily like a mellow Janis Joplin, but I have to disagree: KT Tunstall sounds like KT Tunstall. Absolutley captivating.
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VINE VOICEon 2 September 2005
This Scottish-raised singer/songwriter of Chinese ancestry debuts with a delightful album as mixed as her background. One of the most popular tracks is the fun-country live rendition of the foot-stompin' "Black Horse & the Cherry Tree", but my personal favorite is the first single "Other Side of the World". These two songs alone make the album worth buying, the only problem being that it's too darn short.
The album begins on a high note with the aforementioned "Other Side of the World", an excellent, thoroughly enjoyable, first rate song with great lyrics:
"The fire fades away
Most of every day
Is full of tired excuses
But it's too hard to say
I wish it were simple
But we give up easily
You're close enough to see that
You're the other side of the world"
Most of the other songs come close to the brilliance of the two I've already mentioned, and every song is worth listening to, with traces of Sheryl Crow and Dido popping up from time to time. Other good tracks are "Another Place to Fall" with its Coldplay type musical hooks and swelling chorus; the folksy "Under the Weather"; the Simon & Garfunkel-like guitar strumming "Suddenly I See"; the retro `80s rock ballad "False Alarm"; and the heart pounding "Stoppin' the Love".
Definitely a contender for best new artist of 2005.
Amanda Richards
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What you have here is a high brow pop album that avoids obvious catagorisation. Occasionally a song that promises to build into something spectacular sort of fizzles out a little, but KT has one powerful weapon that brings her back from the edge everytime - a really quite extraordinary voice. On the wonderful "under the weather" she switches from being sweet and folky to throaty and soulful and then back to sweet and folky again in about 30 seconds! KT hardly stays in one musical place for long taking Jazz, Folk, Blues and Rock influences in her stride. I was nearly put off by the Melua reference in another review, but there certainly isn't anything anywhere near as nausiating as The Closest Thing To Crazy here, so dont be put off by that reference. If you took the promise of Dido's early hits, threw in a little Texas added the polish of Bic Runga and garnished with a lttle Carol King you'd be getting somewhere near this sound. I think there might even be a little Morcheeba in there somewhere on one track, and then there's a sort of Carpenters harmony on another and.....
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It seems more and more nowadays that an artist's debut album has so much hype surrounding it we all expect a grand masterpiece with minimal professional experience. This is how a great deal of people approach Eye to the Telescope and find it wanting.

On the basis that this is a debut, I find it very satisfying. Obviously still finding her feet, many of the songs are a little tentative, but still enjoyable. Her more experimental efforts are the most exciting, such as 'Black Horse and The Cherry Tree' and 'Stoppin' the Love', the latter having some kind of barbershop quartet as backing vocals, reintroducing rich, modest harmony into pop music. 'Through the Dark' is delicate and beautiful, as is 'Slient Sea', possibly my favourite escapist song on the album.

I think if KT (why didn't she stick with Katie? Apparently, she thought it was too 'country bumpkin') continues to get some genuine support and searches out different sounds, styles and instruments, as the evidence seems to suggest she does anyway, I think we have an everyman's icon in the making.
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on 16 June 2005
When KT Tunstall burst onto our TV screens on Jools Hollands BBC2 show, not only did her amazing one woman stint blow me away but her voice has such a unique blend of husky blues and soft tones that I had to find the CD. This album has a great range of music ranging from sharp, rocky tracks to very personal more reflective ones. More bite than Norah Jones, rockier than Joss Stone - finally a female artist with real edge. Just buy it.
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