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KT Tunstall - Eye To The Telescope


Review: Jack Foley

"ON the whole, I'm a positive, skippity-la-la person, but I love the dark side of music and I will always want to explore that. It's a positive-sounding album but there's stuff underneath for sure."

So says rapidly emerging Scottish singer-songwriter, KT Tunstall, when talking about her debut album, Eye To The Telescope.

And it's easy to see what she means while listening to some of the material on it.

There is frequently a bluesy feel to proceedings, born from intensely personal lyrics about love, lift, success and career that inevitably bring a certain amount of sorrow with it.

But anyone thinking that Scotland has now found a female equivalent to the melancholic style of Radiohead would be wrong.

Tunstall's tracks encompass a variety of styles and provoke a number of comparisons - from Fleetwood Mac to Norah Jones and Sheryl Crow to boot.

It's an accessible, pleasant listen, full of accomplished material that really beg you to sit down and listen.

Certain tracks feel a little too plodding for their own good, such as Through The Dark, which arrives a little too soon after the similarly low-key Stoppin' The Love.

But while Through The Dark never really gets going, the blues guitar, dusky vocals and delicious beat on Stoppin' The Love is a real treat, and indicative of a major new talent.

The album gets off to a terrific start, as well, with the breezy Other Side of the World, which evokes memories of the smooth vocal style and dreamy melodies of another emerging act from the other end of the country, The Wire Daisies.

Comparisons with fellow Scottish outfits such as Travis and Texas are more apparent during the rocky, defiant second track, Another Place To Fall, which lend Tunstall's vocals a grittier edge, that neatly offsets some of the softer material.

While the Norah Jones style is rife throughout the sweet-sounding Under The Weather.

And a more upbeat style is apparent on the lively Suddenly I See, which rates among the most instantly catchy on the album.

Yet, it is this mixture of styles that keeps the album so fresh and evolving. Tunstall is no one-trick pony and the collection of songs she has assembled - apparently whittled down from over 100 - make for an extremely enticing listen.

Eye To The Telescope is a very accomplished debut indeed and I'd be very surprised if Tunstall didn't emerge as one of the female artists of 2005.

Track listing:
1. Other Side Of The World
2. Another Place To Fall
3. Under The Weather
4. Suddenly I See
5. Miniature Disasters
6. Silent Sea
7. Universe & U
8. False Alarm
9. Heal Over
10. Stoppin' The Love
11. Through The Dark
12. Black Horse & The Cherry Tree (Bonus track - Performed on Later With Jools Holland)

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