Release Date: Aug 6, 2013
Record label: Virgin
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
There was an experiment with a near-electro album in 2010, and that was enough to send KT Tunstall in the opposite direction for this record. The sparse, countrified tone is new for her – it was recorded in Arizona, with Howe Gelb producing – but fits the reflective mood of the songs, half of them written after her father suddenly died and her marriage ended. The hallmark is delicacy: every song feels fragile.
On her Blue Note debut, KT Tunstall does a musical about face from the bright, shiny production and uptempo pop of 2010's Tiger Suit and 2007's sparkling Drastic Fantastic. Invisible Empire/Crescent Moon is a gentler, more organic collection. The split title reflects the album's linked themes of mortality (the death of her father) and the end of love (a divorce), and the two different sessions helmed by Howe Gelb in the Tucson desert during the spring and winter of 2012.
It was a fortuitous meeting of minds. Giant Sand’s Howe Gelb met singer-songwriter KT Tunstall early in 2012 while the two were performing with Robyn Hitchcock’s Floating Palace revue. Gelb invited her to record at his buddy Craig Schumacher’s Tucson sanctuary – a.k.a. Wavelab Studios – and the stage was set for something unusual.
On Invisible Empire / Crescent Moon, KT Tunstall slows things down a great deal. It’s quite the departure for an artist who once described her debut album as “girl stomp”. This fourth album sees most of the stomp washed away in the wake of quiet reflection. Tunstall has done this before, certainly, but usually when buffered by more energetic numbers such as “Fade Like a Shadow” to add some much needed variety.
Back in 2005, it was hard to avoid KT Tunstall. After spending most of her 20s under the radar on the fringes of the Scottish indie scene, performing regularly with Fence Collective members such as The Beta Band and King Creosote, a head turning performance on Later… with Jools Holland suddenly propelled her into the national consciousness. Within months, she had a top three chart placing and a Mercury Prize nomination for her album Eye To The Telescope, leaving her erstwhile Fife cohorts toiling in obscurity as she joined the MTV elite.
Scottish singer-songwriter KT Tunstall reemerges with a fourth record that takes her back to basics in order to find the essence of her music. This elegant, elegiac disc is filled with emotionally direct, expressive songs confronting loss and mortality. Howe Gelb produces with a light touch to heighten the intimacy of Tunstall’s vocals. The music is spare yet evocative, making for the perfect aural correlative to the introspective lyrics.