KT Tunstall – KIN

KT Tunstall - KINAfter her last album, the solumn Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon, KT Tunstall comtemplated stepping away from her career as a recording artist, instead refocusing her efforts composing music for movies. Soon after moving to California, she began work on what would become her fifth record.

With Tony Hoffer producing (Beck, M83, Depeche Mode), KIN is a return to KT’s melodic upbeat acoustic pop sound that rose her to popularity over a decade ago. Its smooth production and live instrumentation is oddly refreshing and almost nostalgic – perhaps a testiment to the lack thereof in today’s music. With guitars sitting central throughout, the spectrum of sound is full and lush without feeling too polished. It’s more like (her second record) Drastic Fantastic in that sense, rather than the electronic-tinge Tiger Suit or mellowness of her debut Eye To The Telescope.

In further contrast to her last record, KIN is positive and forward-facing. It’s a record that acknowledges the light at the end of the tunnel. On Maybe It’s A Good Thing, she takes the glass-half-full approach when faced with unexpected occurrences. There’s a sense of reluctant self-acceptance as she gives herself a deserving pat on the back with It Took Me So Long To Get Here, But Here I Am, and on the title track, which sounds like a stripped-down Roxette cover ballad, she takes comfort in simply being loved.

KIN doesn’t explore new territory, but it doesn’t need to. It’s a sonically pleasant record that focuses on looking forward with your head held high. It’s a self-realization that things aren’t so bad, and she says as much on Run On Home, “the only thing I’ve noticed is that I’ve been feeling happier lately.”
Four stars

1. Hard Girls
2. Turned A Light On
3. Maybe It’s A Good Thing
4. Evil Eye
5. It Took Me So Long To Get Here, But Here I Am
6. On My Star
7. Two Way [featuring James Bay]
8. Run On Home
9. Kin
10. Everything Has Its Shape
11. Love Is An Ocean

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