Album Review: KT Tunstall's new 'Tiger Suit'
Scottish singer/songwriter KT Tunstall remains best known in the U.S. for her hits, “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” and “Suddenly I See” from her multi-platinum debut, 2004’s “Eye to the Telescope.” But that could change with “Tiger Suit,” her third album, out Oct. 4.
“Tiger Suit,” so named after a recurring childhood dream of Tunstall’s about seeing a tiger in her garden, blends her established acoustic roots with dance textures for an overall upbeat throbbing album. Though it may be a bid to make her sound more contemporary (especially after her second album stalled in the U.S.), the surprise is it works in a totally organic way.
First single, “Fade Like a Shadow” a bouncy track about the end of a relationship, is climbing Billboard’s Triple A chart. It stands as the catchiest song on “Tiger Suit,” but is far from its only top tapper.
Tunstall announces that there’s a new girl in town with album opener, “Uummannaq Song,” which pulses with world music rhythms and backing vocals (The singalong backing vocals return on the aggressive "Madame Trudeaux"). From there, she propels into “Glamour Puss,” a track that wouldn’t sound out of place on an Adele or Duffy record (or Peter, Bjorn and John, given all the whistling). She also bares a striking resemblance to ingrid Michaelson on a number of cuts.
Tunstall turned to Linda Perry and The Bird & The Bee’s Greg Kurstin (also known for his work with Lily Allen) to co-write with her for “Tiger Suit” and they’ve kept her work tight and punchy. Producer Jim Abbiss, who has worked with Adele and Arctic Monkey, among others, focuses on Tunstall’s lilting soprano in a way that hasn’t always been evident in past albums, especially on the mid-tempo “Difficulty,” which is a awash with synthesizers.
The album’s most endearing track has to be “(Still a) Weirdo,” the first single in the U.K., in which Tunstall declares, in a gently swaying way, that she’s still a weirdo after all these years. Thank goodness for that.