on 10 September 2007
Before i review this album id like to put across my point on previews that people constantly feel the need to give on here. Now last time i looked amazon offered you the option to 'Review' not preview. Please try and refrain from previewing until you've heard/watched/played your purchase!!!
I doubt this will happen though, maybe amazon can disable the option to 'review' until after the release of a product to crack down on this annoyance???
anyways unlike the people below me (when they 'previewed' at least), i own a copy of this album and have listened to it in full. novel eh?
anyways, i like this album, i ordered it purely on the basis of her first album and her new single 'hold on'.
its always a risk of course but i can honestly say im not disappointed.
I like the reworking of 'little favours' which was a b-side on a single from her first album, i forget which. here its laden with electric guitar and vocal overlays.
'white bird' the promoted song on amazon is possibly my favourite track, one of the more laid back songs on the album, which in the most part is very energetic.
The new single 'hold on' is, as expected, the most catchy song on the album and a good first single.
In review there isnt a bad track on this album and if you loved her first album i think you'll honestly like this one aswell, its a fun listen, with plenty of energy, and has a quicker pace than ETTT, but it winds down nicely with a few slower numbers. It shows good progression from KT, but its still classic Tunstall. Is it better than ETTT??? Id say potentially. One things for sure, its worth purchasing.
on 13 September 2007
K T Tunstall came to my attention when she first appeared on Later with Jools Holland in 2004 which prompted me and many others to go out and buy her debut album Eye To The Telescope.
This album (that difficult 2nd album) follows on well and the styles of songs vary from Bonnie Raitt to Edie Brickell. But that's ok, I like Bonnie Ratt and Edie Brickell.
Here's the Bonnie Raitt number, uninhibited fun and I reckon this should have been the first single.
Musically complex and beginning the transition toward Edie this tells of what the French call "l'esprit d'escalier" - the spirit of the stairs. We all know what we should have said in restrospect!
A deceptively simple song with multi-tracked voice and a layered sound that is easy on the ears.
As the intro plays to this I hear Viv Stanshall saying "and now... Distorted Guitar". Upbeat and pleasing to the ear. Superb stuff.
The actual first single, probably because it's the most like her breakthrough single, "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree". In fact it's almost a clone. Still enjoyable though.
You can see the video for this, as she saunters down a lonely road, perhaps near a cliffs edge. This is almost Richard Thompson in quality. A pleasure.
I Don't Want You Now
And now, Paul Weller! Well, I don't know if he's on the track, but he should be. A Jam track with a female vocalist? Works for me.
Saving My Face
Carole King would have been proud of this song. Another facet of KT, a nice little ditty. Not memorable ... yet.
Beauty of Uncertainty
Here comes Edie. Pleasant but less than memorable
Much more Edie. Pleasant but less than memorable
Full-on Edie mode, complete with harmonium. Lush and gorgeous.
Kate "KT" Tunstall (born June 23, 1975) is a Scottish singer and songwriter, educated partly in Connecticut, which explains her mid-atlantic accent. Perhaps. Although her voice is not Scottish in any of these songs, which I consider a shame in some ways, this album will only build on her previous success.
Recommendation - buy this album!
This is a very good album. Okay, it's not quite up to the standards of Eye to the Telescope, but at least she's trying to evolve with her sound a little.
There are fewer of the acoustic, introspective tracks of her debut, and a more upbeat, electric sound. Having said that, there are still acoustic numbers here. My personal favourites are the upbeat 'Hopeless', the single, and 'Saving My Face'.
If you enjoyed her debut album, or even the Acoustic Extravanganza, then you'll probably like this one too. KT's songwriting is still strong, and rather than resting on her laurels she is trying something different (admittedly, not too different), which is commendable. I'd give it 3.5 stars.
on 15 September 2007
Like most KT fans, I awaited this with nerves more than anything else! I LOVED Eye To The Telescope and wasn't sure how she could better it. So on first listen, I expected to be disappointed and I almost was until I realised that I loved ETTT because I've listened to it solidly for months on end whereas this was a first listen of an album that has undoubtedly gone in a new direction. Being able to listen to her voice endlessly means this has been on repeat since I bought it and every single track has grown on me and I love it as much as the first one! There are clearly new influences on here, both 'White Bird' and 'Beauty of Uncertainty' go in a chillout sort of direction whereas there is a lot of much poppier stuff on here too. That said, the nuances of the music itself; discordant chord sequences, unusual vocal lines and a different style of singing from KT herself all mean that these poppier songs do not go down the throwaway route. The rawness of her voice does not come out so much on this album but the slightly sweeter sound she has gained is a pleasant enough substitute, especially in duet with Willy Mason on the backing vocals for 'Hopeless'. Overall, I think this album is more of a grower than the immediate impact of ETTT but those who give it a chance will definitely not be disappointed.
KT maybe eager to stay true to her roots , but when your debut album sells 4 million copies your record company want something similar next time out.
And indeed we get two KT Tunstall's for the price of one here. We get the glamour pop princess on the one hand (one only needs to look at the cover picture), whilst the old folk KT still wants it's time in the spotlight. You cannot deny that on certain tracks, radio-friendly pop mega sellers were certainly in mind.
The likes of Little Favours, If Only and Hold On are instantly memorable. I Don't Want You Now and next single Saving My Face aren't quite up to those levels but are both good songs as well.
I have to admit that it all gets a bit too pedestrian for me in parts. Paper Aeroplane and White Bird are not terrible songs, but can't really hold a candle to the slower songs from ETTT and without being too unkind, Beauty Of Uncertainty is at least two minutes too long. Slim it down to 3 minutes instead of 5 and it might have kept me interested for it's duration.
Still all is not lost on this side of the coin. Someday Soon just enchants me. Its simple, but wonderfully heartfelt and is the song that most grabs me like Heal Over did on its predecessor.
It's hard to say that it's better than Eye To The Telescope, and I have to admit to not really believing the "you have to be drastic to be fantastic" line that Tunstall has been spinning, but that doesn't make this a bad album.
It has enough shiny pop hits to captivate the casual fan who loves her on the basis of Black Horse & Cherry Tree or Suddenly I See and also, despite my ambivalence to some of the tracks, enough of the softer/acoustic side of KT that drew in other people as well.
Firstly, can I just say what an awful title for an album Drastic Fantastic is? Thank you. OK, now I've got that out of the way, it only seems fair that I discuss KT's follow-up to her drastically fantastic (sorry!) 'Eye To The Telescope'.
Her debut was such a strong body of work that it was always going to be difficult replicating the success of a debut so long in the making and coming up with another set of songs as strong as those she had been composing and performing for a number of years. Disappointingly, if maybe a little predictably, this album isn't as good as 'Eye To The Telescope', but given the quality of the songs on her first album, it may have been a bit of a steep ask.
This is, however, a very good album indeed and does more than enough to establish KT as an artist whose third album will be anticipated perhaps nearly as much as this one. 'Drastic Fantastic' is full of rich melodies, some wonderful harmonies and has a slightly harder edge than her previous work. Some critics declared it overproduced, but if you compare it with the the majority of work on the contemporary charts, that claim is almost laughable.
This is an enjoyable rock/pop/folk album with a handful of very good tracks, namely 'Little Favours', 'If Only', 'Funnyman', 'Hold On', 'Hopeless' and 'Paper Aeroplane' even if there is nothing on this album that could be hailed as a genuine classic. This is an album that, if you found it at a bargain price, you'd probably be extremely pleased with it, but anyone expecting an album just as good as her highly rated debut may find themselves a little deflated.
on 4 January 2008
You could be mistaken for believing Ms Tunstall sees herself as a fully-fledged diva upon seeing the cover of this, her third album. But while the songs have an unmistakable swagger about them this owes more to a talented songstress at the height of her game and loving every minute than to some over-hyped prima donna.
I've always been a bit ambivalent towards KT Tunstall. Eye To The Telescope left me fairly cold and I've not yet got round to sampling her 'Acoustic Extravaganza'. What has always charmed me is her palpable enthusiasm and general joie de vivre that has come across in interviews. Her being a talented Scot, from the east of the country, also has particular resonance.
I bought this as something to listen to on the way to work. Something I thought would be pleasant and fill the time nicely. What I got was an album that is all I have listened to for the past week. From the solid opening Little Favours there is simply not a weak moment to be found.
It strikes a good balance between dreamy acoustic numbers which never descend into the tweedom of Katie Melua, and fiesty, spiky rollicking anthems.
Particularly worthy of mention is White Bird, a beautiful and infectious acoustic number that'll get under your skin; the twangy, lively Hold On; I Don't Want You Now, a wonderful and worthy tribute to the singing style of the late Kirsty MacColl; and the mesmerising Saving My Face.
For an album to inspire such love in someone previously 'ambivalent' to Ms Tunstall you know this has to be good!
on 9 October 2007
Bob Dylan once said he's never influenced by artists under the age of 50.While i'm not quite that discriminating i must admit i very rarely explore bands or singers without them having a handful of albums behind them to fully judge their longevity. In the same way it's said everyone has a book in them the same could be said for albums.I'm sure everyone could write a dozen sets of lyrics, steal some tunes and hit the charts.That doesn't guarantee any of them would be any good of course and hence my reluctance to join the fanclubs of every new sensation. Miss Tunstall however is the exception to my rule.
Having been tempted by the excellent "Eye to the Telescope" this offering proves Kt has talent in bundles(and my faith isn't in vain). It's not a direct copy of her debut which some reviewers seem to think of as a negative issue, but instead sees her grow and mature as a songwriter and performer. Drastic Fantastic still contains the hooks to drag the listener in (like Suddenly I See did originally).Songs like Hold On, Hopeless, Saving My Face and the irresistable I Don't Want You Now bristle with feeling and attitude and had me tapping my fingers on the very first listen. But Kt also has an emotional depth very few contemparies can match.Here tunes such as Beauty of Uncertainty and Someday Soon come into their own growing in meaning and importance with every new play. Drastic Fantastic is another 11 songs to add to what i believe will become an amazing body of work.If Miss Tunstall can continue producing such a standard can you imagine how extraordinary her Greatest Hits Package will sound in about a decades time ? And for once i'll be able to say i was there (almost) at the start! Now did i mention her cute nose ...
on 15 September 2007
As many others in this review section have reiterated, I waited with bated breath for the second album from KT. I have experienced too many disappointing second efforts to not fret slightly about where she would go after the undoubted success of her debut.
My main concern, in fact, was that she would produce a clone album of accoustic driven folk pop that would be pleasant but unchallenging; possibly due to pressure from the record label. Whilst undoubtedly this would sell records I felt it would do her an injustice. Luckily KT, Steve Osborne and Relentless have gone down a completely different route ...
Drastic Fantastic feels like it explores the richness and variety of influences that she talks of that started in her year in Connecticut when she first left Scotland. I could try and draw parallels to various artists who may or may not have made their stamp on the various parts of the album; and certainly some songs give an initial glimmer of influence - White Bird's gentle acoustic strains particularly feel like it may be a direct tribute to The Beatles' Blackbird - but what is essential to realise is that KT's unique style is woven strongly through all the tracks.
All in all the album's variety and it's very departure from Eye to the Telescope's feel are what make it work for me. I'm delighted to see KT using different vocal styles much in the way Joan Osborne made work so well on albums such as Relish. All this adds up to an engaging and satisfying album that begs to be returned to over and over again.
For those that are concerned about the album length (and being more than aware of where I'm posting this review!) I was happy to find my iTunes download was 48.5 minutes long, not including the live version of Suddenly I See that was bundled with it - Bonus studio tracks being, as far as I can see, Mothgirl and Bad Day
on 13 September 2007
i have been waiting with some anticipation for this, Tunstall's second record. i absolutely adored her first and am very hard to please so was worried this would dissapoint. i must say, on first listen, i was not readily blown away. whilst i thought it was very good, it didn't have the depth of the first record. then i realised the reason the first record was so good was because it had depth and depth is not often experienced on a first listen. i have had it on in the office since that first listen virtually on repeat because when it finishes you just want to hear it all over again. it is almost the perfectly made album in my opinion. phenomanal! it is a step on from ETTT and has more balls to it. Saving My Face, If Only, Funnyman all stand out as great pop songs and the Beauty Of Uncertainty probably takes the prize as the best song (although that changes every time i listen).
it's one of those albums where a new track starts and you go "OMG, i love this one" on every single song.
well done Tunstall!! no doubt this will take you to the next level and arenas are but a step away.