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KT Tunstall

Album Review
K.T. Tunstall's Acoustic Extravaganza
EMI/Relentless

26 Sep 2006

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Note: KT Tunstall's Acoustic Extravaganza is a special release for fans with footage from her bonny homeland, not her next album - which is due for release next year...

KT TunstallThe new CD/DVD combo KT Tunstall's Acoustic Extravaganza is a long way from being bad. It's eminently agreeable, simple and straightforward, but for exactly these reasons it's going to be difficult to put it in the stereo again.

Arriving on store shelves on the 25th September, this is Tunstall's second release. Her first album, Eye to the Telescope, garnered this 31-year-old Scottish singer/songwriter international recognition for singles like Black Horse and the Cherry Tree and Suddenly I See. As the name implies, Acoustic Extravaganza is a slower, softer album. Besides this, several songs, like Miniature Disasters and Universe & U, are present on both recordings.

Acoustic Extravaganza, when judged against EttT, is more like alt-country than pop. Tunstall's version of Golden Age, which first appeared on Beck's excellent album Sea Change, is the clearest comparison that may be drawn between Tunstall's work and that of other artists in the same genre. Beck's version accomplished much with simple, sweeping instrumentation and minimalist production. Tunstall adds an obtrusive beat while losing the mournful eloquence that made the original so affecting. The changes do not ruin it; they just strip away that which made it great.

Melodies are the most compelling part of KT Tunstall's Acoustic Extravaganza. The sound is comparable to that of American alt-country acts like Wilco or the Silver Jews, though Tunstall is less adventurous, the songs on Acoustic being all simple combinations of guitar/bass/drums, with little to no other instrumentation.

Tunstall has gained lofty praise for her lyrics, including the Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically (Suddenly I See). That said, the wistfulness and wit of EttT isn't present here. Tunstall's breathy delivery still evokes Fiona Apple and early PJ Harvey, but this time she doesn't have much to say, especially when compared to the biting lyrics of those two influences. Case in point would be the song Boo Hoo, which includes such gems as: "If I got lost/would you go looking for me/or would you be all right/on your own?" This isn't a line chosen for its banality; this is likely the best line in the song. Without subtlety or humour, lyrically, this just doesn't have it. Many songs are repetitive, with one-line choruses and the like.

The included DVD is like most of its ilk: diehard fans will love watching Five Go to Skye, which chronicles Acoustic's creation, but newcomers to the artist should be wary of plunking down a few more pounds for content that may not interest them.

Acoustic Extravaganza is billed as a special release for fans, rather than as a second album; those looking for an good introduction to KT Tunstall's music would be wise to go with EttT.

Listen to her 10 audio clips

Note: TKT Tunstall's Acoustic Extravaganza is a special release for fans with footage from her bonny homeland, not her next album - which is due for release next year...

Buy K.T. Tunstall's Acoustic Extravaganza at Amazon >>
Listen to her 10 audio clips >>

Ashes

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Girl And The Ghost

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One Day

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Golden Age

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Boo Hoo

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Gone To The Dogs

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Change

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Miniature Disasters

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Universe & U

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Throw Me A Rope

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