KT Tunstall broke into the music scene with tracks such as ‘Black Horse and a Cherry Tree’ and ‘Suddenly I See’ to name a few and created a strong worldwide fanbase. She has returned with a brand new studio album entitled ‘KIN’.
Opener ‘Hard Girls’ has KT showcase her skills a multi-instrumentalist as she plays guitar, keyboards and bass whilst the album’s producer Tony Hoffer provides additional guitar and Denny Weston Jr lays down the drum beat. The track’s lyrics are interesting as she sings “You know that nothing changes, so just be yourself.” It has subtle feminist tones that give it a real punch but it doesn’t alienate the male listener.
‘Turned A Light On’ includes a very dreamy sounding organ and organ programming courtesy of Dave Palmer and Dave MacLean respectively. It reminds me of British psychedelic band Temples who take their fans on a similar music dream sequence. Not one of the album’s memorable tracks but entertaining nevertheless.
‘Maybe It’s A Good Thing’ seems to be one of the more personal tracks for Tunstall and for me deals with the idea of acceptation during moments of grief or significant sadness. Palmer’s synths give it an electro-acoustic vibe but I would really love to hear this as a stripped-back acoustic setup like BBC’s Live Lounge. An important thing to note is that KT Tunstall always sounds heartfelt and genuine when she sings unlike some other female artists in the music industry and that has to be acknowledged.
‘Evil Eye’ features groovy bass by Joseph Karnes and stunning flute played by KT. Is there no instrument this woman cannot play! I can already picture the music video set around a voodoo magic campfire in the woods. A radio single for sure.
Interestingly, I saw KT Tunstall perform a solo acoustic version of ‘It Took Me So Long To Get Here, But Here I Am’ in December 2016 as part of Jamie Cullum and Friends Help 4 Refugees charity evening at Jazz Café, Camden, London. “This is the longest song title I’ve ever written!” she joked to the packed crowd. A very good song to drive to if you are on the motorway. For me, an album highlight.
‘Two Way’ is a co-write with British guitarist and singer-songwriter James Bay and they decided to record this as a duet. Both of their voices blend incredibly well and their individual fanbases should enjoy this. ‘Run On Home’ is the most anthemic cut on this record and sounds like she is channelling her inner Bruce Springsteen.
Title track ‘KIN’ includes haunting strings arranged by David Campbell as imagery of waves lapping against the beach fills my mind. A truly relaxing piece of music that compliments the electronic pop.
Closing track ‘Love Is An Ocean’ feels very familiar with the sweeping vocals and pleasant acoustic guitar and makes you want to sing along. If you enjoy the music of The Corrs and Jack Savoretti then you might enjoy this track.
In conclusion, ‘Kin’ is very strong album; vocally, technically and lyrically. It doesn’t try to be something it’s not and Tony Hoffer has really worked with KT Tunstall and the musicians to allow the songs to shine. A very welcome return from KT Tunstall and with extensive touring around Europe with Simple Minds and the UK as a headliner in 2017, this seems like just the start of a very strong year.