Wednesday, 3 July 2019

KT Tunstall - WAX (2018)

Backlash & vinegar....


Released on 5 October 2018

Running time 41.36

I had once presumed KT Tunstall to be another in a long line of earnest singer-songwriters, complete with acoustic guitar and dreamy songs. I was wrong. This is a big, powerful, credible rock album. I guess the front cover gives it away a bit.

I have only recently got into KT's music and I have to admit I am really enjoying discovering it. It's great. Varied, musically diverse and highly enjoyable to listen to. She has an excellent voice - strong and rasping.


1. Little Red Thread
2. Human Being
3. The River
4. The Mountain
5. The Healer (Redux)
6. Dark Side Of Me
7. Poison In Your Cup
8. Backlash & Vinegar
9. In This Body
10. The Night That Bowie Died
11. Tiny Love                                              

Little Red Thread has a rousing, riffy rock beat and an intoxicating rhythm to it. It also features some deceptively intricate instrumentation in places. Human Being begins like an eighties synth-driven number before breaking out into a guitar-powered muscular rocker. The River is another supercharged number with KT on superb vocal form over "proper" guitar, bass and drum backing. It has a sort of US rocking feel to it.

The Mountain has a mysterious, quirky keyboard and percussion rhythm and a sensual vocal from KT. It is a marvellously atmospheric track. I love this one. It is impossible to categorise, really, and often reminds of something else, but I don't know what it is. It may come to me eventually. The Healer (Redux) is another bona fide rock song, nothing wishy-washy about this. It sounds like Grace Potter & The Nocturnals. If you thought KT Tunstall was another mournful, acoustic-strumming singer-songwriter, you were wrong. This rocks, big time.

Dark Side Of Me slows the pace down a bit for a US-sounding bluesy rock ballad in the Susan Tedeschi style. Poison In Your Cup is a delicious laid-back slow number with a great sound to it and a lovely bluesy vocal, a bit like Bonnie Raitt. There is often a hint of Stevie Nicks here and there in KT's voice too. Backlash And Vinegar is a slow but powerful country rock-style number, again reminiscent of Susan Tedeschi. A catchy, infectious rhythm drives the quirky In This Body. It is another excellent rock number.

The Night That Bowie Died is a sad mid-pace number, with obvious references to the demise of David Bowie wrapped up in other more oblique lyrics that mean something to KT but whose meaning is not clear. Tiny Love is a beguiling, sombre-ish but beautiful closer to what is a really good album, one that is strong and dominant but also sensitive. It is definitely one I will return to. Genuinely enjoyable.


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