Neither "Fantastic" Nor Mediocre
KT Tunstall - Drastic Fantastic
Rating: 2.5 Stars
While KT Tunstall’s latest sophomore effort may not be as fantastic as its title suggests, neither is it mediocre. Bordering between an upbeat ethnic-inspired style as witnessed in tracks like the first single “Hold on” and the typical downtrodden heartbroken contemplations about love and loss as heard in “Beauty of Uncertainty”, this album’s genuine lack of continuity and theme perhaps can partially account for my ambiguous critique.
While Drastic Fantastic leads off with humble beginnings, once track five or so sets in, Tunstall’s talent and ingenuity begins to shine. Stylistic techniques and musical influence derived from a diverse array of artists including: everyone from The Cranberries to The Beatles to Johnny Cash and even Ella Fitzgerald can be heard throughout Tunstall’s album, and it becomes obvious that her ability to draw inspiration from both contemporaries and legends is what sets her apart from others.
Her intoxicating vocals demonstrate a strong range, and the occasional raspy note, indicating that she’s got attitude, is a nice addition to the typical nonchalant vocals of most female songstresses.
With fairly simplistic instrumentation, it is clear that KT’s dynamic vocals are the selling feature of her music. Well-constructed (for the most part) light pop-rock tunes with personal heartfelt lyrical content will likely generate a wide audience for Tunstall, especially in her native European market.
Though this album’s high production value is clearly illustrated through its precise mixing of each instrument that appears, few songs stand out as having radio potential. Tunstall’s true talent, arguably, is best demonstrated through her fast-paced tracks, and unfortunately for her, Drastic Fantastic is mostly comprised of down-tempo fillers.