sun 03/07/2022

CD: KT Tunstall - KIN | reviews, news & interviews

CD: KT Tunstall - KIN

CD: KT Tunstall - KIN

Grown up pop with a spiritual edge

This album is the rebuilding of KT Tunstall - in a spiritual sense if not a musical one.

It’s not a huge departure from the norm in terms of sound. She's kept the distinctive zazzy guitar pop and poetic lyric, imbued with a style of music that skirts the peripheries of folk but remains pop at its core. 

Drawing inspiration from Californian classics such as Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Tom Petty and Fleetwood Mac (Tunstall took a two year time out in LA to reflect, relax and complete a Sundance film composers lab) there is a laid back, sunsetty shimmer to almost all of the tracks. They are unfailingly positive, optimistic and upbeat - even the angrier sounding songs like "Run On Home", a rocky melody that trips down the steps of her words “you can cheat your smile, you can reach out kindly, but I’ll forever know that you’re lying”.

“Turned A Light On” has a similar ear worm to “Black Horse and a Cherry Tree”, there’s a touch of colourful 80s dance in “Evil Eye” and both “On My Star” and “Love Is An Ocean” have a spiritual edge with a particularly bliss sense of self-reflection. The classic-rock duet with James Bay “Two Way” is full of power and range. The song "Kin" has a touch of Alanis Morissette’s “You’ve Already Won Me Over”.

But it's songs like "It Took Me So Long to Get Here" that allows you to see into Tunstall's headspace, resonating the idea that life is for living in the now, not evaluating the past or fighting to get ahead in the future. In "Maybe It's A Good Thing" she sings "I can’t see what’s coming and I don’t really care." Now, at age 40 with age and wisdom on her side she can impart this advice in the album's first track "Hard Girls" in which she sings “oh you soft girls, trying to be hard girls, you know that nothing changes, just be yourself". Similarly the synthy, rousing "Everything Has Its Shape" has the lyrics “pull it apart and put it back together, how you want". It's a metaphor for the whole album - the rebuilding of an artist as a person if not of her sound, which is distinctive and recognisable.

KIN has the kind of mature pop that can only come with experience. It’s as if Tunstall has broken down her priorities in terms of melody, hook, words and mood, andarranged them as pretty solid blocks that reflect her sense of trueness as an artist rather than relentlessly chasing the bait of a fickle music industry. And that in itself is reason to give kudos to this album.

it’s the kind of mature pop that can only come with experience


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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