So I've been listening to the new KT Tunstall for a while now. I'm still not entirely sure what I think about it. It's very familiar, but also very new - at the same time. I do know that I like it a helluva lot.
For me Eye to the Telescope was pretty damned awesome on the first listening and improved over time. The two big singles are both amazing songs that rock hard and have killer hooks and were my early favourite tracks - eventually supplanted by Miniature Disasters. As much as the first album was the "folk" one, it's highlights are mired in rocking baddassery.
Drastic Fantastic didn't grab me as much right away. There isn't a single from it that's as instant-smash-hit-super-appealing from the first note the way Black Horse and Cherry Tree is - but it grew on my over time. Especially Hopeless. Man, that is an awesome song. A bit ironic that the "pop" album was the one that took me time to fully appreciate.
Tiger Suit is the electronica one. Sort of. Anyways, it is still clearly and obviously KT, what with the pop-folk-rockabilly mix. The writing on the songs is very much in the same vein as before - rife with gripping phrases, both lyrically and musically.how stripped down the singing used yo be.
But this album certainly seems different than the earlier entries. On the other albums, you could fairly easily imagine all but one or two tracks being performed live by KT and Wee Bastard (the loop pedal). On Tiger Suit it's pretty much reversed.
The other difference is her voice. The new songs are, on average, more - at least in the sense of vocals. The almost breaking sound as she slips between registers - that's become pretty common throughout the album. And while it sometimes seems like extraneous ornamentation - almost gimmicky - if you listen hard, you can hear the reason. She's emoting more on these new songs, but not in an overblown way. And while I like this new range of tone, I do miss how simple and stripped down the singing used to be.
And despite my mixed feelings about what has stayed the same and what has changed - I'd still give Tiger Suit a five out of five. I've listen to the whole thing in order, one song after the next, at least a dozen times in the past couple of weeks. And I'm still not tempted to skip any tracks.
Here's my current favourite song on the album: