September 30, 2010

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KT Tunstall, Tiger Suit
Virgin Records, Oct. 15
The sophomore jinx rarely lets off a thud as dull as what resounded from Tunstall’s 2007 album Drastic Fantastic. It was a letdown for the ages, given that her blow-doors debut Eye to the Telescope lent her the blank-check rep of a songwriting Supergirl, which is unfair of course: entire lifetimes go into debut albums, follow-ups are contractual obligations. So she sort-of disappeared in order to sort-of not-really-but-yes-really get into Twitter-beefs with Dido and Shakira (evidence does keep mounting that women couldn’t run the world any better than men, doesn’t it?), marry her male drummer (thereby sort-of putting the lesbian static to sort-of rest) and, by the way, do some songwriting. Tiger Suit doesn’t have the otherworldly melodic sculpturing of ETTT, but it’s not the underdone failure DF was either. Here she’s allowed her inner Melissa Etheridge to take the wheel and simply make up songs, tunes she probably invented in her head recently in airports and dressing rooms and actually wrote down, not stuff she forced onto herself in painful solitary blocks of “writing time” like the ones that so obviously wrought Drastic’s downfall. Don’t believe too much of the hype about all sorts of electronics on here; there’s some, but in the end she’s just a Scottish immigrant who once busked in Vermont for pocket change. The world may never hear another ETTT from KT Tunstall unless she takes 10 years off at some point, but meantime this new hard-ass busker chick is pretty cool. A — Eric W. Saeger