(13 October 2007) The making or Drastic Fantastic (Relentless (USA) 9463-956182, 2007) in the same studio Arctic Monkeys recorded Favourite Worst Nightmare had a knock-on effect on her guitar. Certainly the stylish Scot's strings sound as they've undergone more of a thrashing this time round. KT has taken all the dinner party-pleasing mellow elements that made Eye To The Telescope such a success and chucked them into the mix with a fat dollop of funk and a layer of grit. The CD comes with a well illustrated black and white "comic book" style booklet.
Drastic Fantastic finds the 32-year-old from St Andrews again contradicting the stereotype of the navel-gazing singer-songwriter strumming her acoustic guitar. Spirited KT once described her music as "stompy, sensitive girl-blues", and the portrayal is now even more fitting. For all its pop tunes, Drastic Fantastic is surprisingly raw-boned. You can hear it on first single "Hold On," with its near R&B beat, and the toe-tapping "Funnyman" with its indie stylings and moody mandolin.
"Little Favours" meanwhile, is a spunky ode to teen lust, while "Saving My Face" tackles the thorny topic of going under the knife. Vocally, KT sounds even more confident as she travels through the vocal spectrum from sparky to smoky and sultry. The album's highlight is "Someday Soon," a dreamily layered ballad she wrote about her painful brief split from bandmate Luke Bullen.
While KT Tunstall's Eye To The Telescope is a good CD,she has really moved into the upper ranks of singer/songwriters on Drastic Fantastic. It is less of a bluesy album than the former and is more straightforward pop. The bluesy appeal of her vocals still shows up, though. KT might not have the most powerful or unique voice, but she does have a good tone.
"If Only" and "White Bird" have a spare feel. Others, like "I Don't Want You Now," are full-on pop rockers. "Little Favours" has an edgy arrangement, but a terrific sing-along chorus, while "I Don't Want You Know" is a jaunty marvel of a song. KT avoids the mid-tempo murk. "Saving My Face" and "Funnyman" are less insistent than the before mentioned "I Don't Want You Now," but their crisp production and fine playing will still hook you.
"Hold On" is the closest to "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree," but has a Latin feel that makes it more than a copy. While no ballad
is quite as good as the slow burning "Under the Weather" they are still quite pretty. Surely the radio will give songs other than "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" a chance to be heard.