KT Tunstall – Tiger Suit (CD reviews)

KT Tunstall – Tiger Suit (Relentless) – CD review –

“Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” became a surprise hit in 2005 for KT Tunstall.  But, a quick listen to either of her two previous studio albums reveals a multi-faceted artist.  The Scottish singer has her roots in indie rock, but can also tackle jazz and folk, as well as danceable pop.  For her third full-length album Tiger Suit, she’s decided to mix things up a bit.

Tunstall used the same studio in Berlin where David Bowie did Heroes and U2 tracked Achtung Baby.  It’s no surprise that the adventurous spirit that embodied those two classic albums also seems to be present here; this is Tunstall’s most experimental release to date.  From the droning keyboard that starts “Uummannaq Song,” to the odd whistling on the Euro-pop track “Glamour Puss,” it’s obvious that her interests lie outside of conventional Top 40 radio.  “Push That Thought Away” begins with an acoustic guitar, morphs into an electronic beat, then breaks down with a fuzzed-out bass and echoey percussion.

The acoustic blues of “Golden Frames” allows her to channel her inner Nina Simone.  Other highlights include “(Still a) Weirdo,” with it’s strange vocal sounds used as percussion, and “Madame Trudeaux” which is probably the hardest rocking she’s ever done, with loud guitars and distorted vocals.  Tunstall shows that her voice can be quite versatile — sweet and longing on “Lost,” while getting loud and gruff on “Come On, Get In,” probably the closest she’s come to her mega-hit “Black Horse,” with its rhythmic acoustic guitar and stomping beat.  And, while this all might sound like a hodge- podge of diverse styles, Tunstall manages to keep it all together with her infectious  melodies. –Tony Peters