KT Tunstall
Drastic Fantastic


4.0
excellent

Review

by Tyler Fisher EMERITUS
November 26th, 2007 | 15 replies | 9,165 views


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Superb poppy composition and construction with consistent results.

Katherine McPhee came out on stage on her knees, accompanied only by two drummers sitting on conga-like instruments, an acoustic guitar, and some other light percussion. Certainly an anomaly in American Idol performance, she began to sing KT Tunstall’s “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree”, a song just scraping the American charts at the bottom. This performance, however, would take KT’s song into the Top 20 almost instantaneously. Though her success after “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” might make her seem a one hit wonder, her success has remained relatively constant in the UK. In fact, in the rest of the world, “Suddenly I See” was her most successful single, peaking at #12 in the UK and the only song to make the Australian charts. She nearly won the Mercury Music Prize in 2005, defeated by Antony and the Johnsons. Despite her limited chart success, KT might be more suitable in the indie scene, where female singer-songwriters like Regina Spektor and Fiona Apple find almost cult-like followings.

My experiences with Tunstall’s music have been limited. I remember the McPhee performance, one of the only American Idol performances I remember solely because of the unique instrumentation, and I recall hearing the song on the radio countless times afterwards. Over a year later, a friend showed me this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-K4CXvxNcw and fell in love with the raspy voiced guitarist. Her use of the loop machine in the cover is brilliant, and I soon discovered that Drastic Fantastic was due for release in a few weeks. Once I excitedly heard the album for the first time, I found myself addicted to this album of pop gems.

Drastic Fantastic is the kind of album that goes song by song. Nothing really defines it other than Tunstall’s guitar-based music and her distinguishable voice. Regardless, it flows smoothly in energy, although dragged down in the middle with too many mid-tempo songs and too little of the eccentric, rhythmic style of her most successful songs. “Little Favours” kicks the album off with a powerful mid-tempo song that has one of the best chord progressions on the album. The obvious switch from minor to major with motion to the chorus causes a dynamic switch in mood and atmosphere, making room for superb vocal harmonies that line the entire album’s high points. Continuing excellence all the way through “Hold On”, everything flows surprisingly well. “Funnyman” has one of the catchiest choruses of the album, while “White Bird” brings the volume and intensity down perfectly at the third song. Although not catchy as a standalone single, “Hold On” fits perfectly inside the album.

On the whole, the album is much more melodic than what might be expected from Tunstall. She seldom enters her unique raspy style best shown on the “I Want You Back” cover shown in the video above, and rather tries to serenade. Luckily, she manages to pull this off well because of the excellent construction throughout the album. The almost country style of “Beauty of Uncertainty” uses a more atmospheric sound, something that seems to work well with Tunstall’s relaxed vocals. “Saving My Face” has some of the most danceable grooves throughout the album, a smart choice for the second single in that respect. The biggest mistake is the album’s lackluster ending, two unenergetic, relaxed songs that are extremely forgettable in the grand scheme of the album. After flowing so well throughout, these tracks could have easily been placed elsewhere or made B-sides without any bad consequences.

While Tunstall’s sophomore effort may not pioneer, it is incredibly relaxing, soothing, and enjoyable, and in pop music, there isn’t much else to creating a successful album in this style. Drastic Fantastic achieves success due to its near-perfect composition and construction.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
ohcleverhansyou
November 26th 2007



885 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Aside from "Suddenly I See" "The Beauty of Uncertainty" and "Someday Soon," I found this to be a horribly disappointing CD.

Flyggeli
November 26th 2007



45 Comments


KT might be more suitable in the indie scene, where female singer-songwriters like Regina Spektor and Fiona Apple.
huh

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
November 26th 2007



3766 Comments


Hm, nice to see a review of this. I thought the singles sounded pretty good, never got round to getting the album.

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor

pupucower
November 27th 2007



12 Comments


Fiona Apple & Regina Spektor rocks!

McP3000
November 27th 2007



3941 Comments


I saw this at a Starbucks for sale.

Looks bad.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
November 27th 2007



2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Haha, forgot to complete that sentence.

"Suddenly I See" is on her first album?This Message Edited On 11.27.07

TheStarclassicTreatment
November 27th 2007



2910 Comments


Judgung by the single, I would like to burn any copy I see of this album.
1st album was great, this however....

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
November 27th 2007



2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Hold On" is really bad as a single, but it fits nicely inside the album.

ohcleverhansyou
November 28th 2007



885 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I disagree, I thought it was a really good single. Was convincing enough to make me preorder the CD.

plane
Staff Reviewer
November 28th 2007



6094 Comments


This album is pleasant and all but no real outstanding tracks brings it down.


Kage
November 30th 2007



1173 Comments


This is pretty lousy.

AtavanHalen
December 2nd 2007



17927 Comments


Still can't wait to get this, big fan of her first.
Room for improvement in the review, but good effort.

mkaddict1
December 3rd 2007



2 Comments


omg, tfish finally did a review of this

i completely agree about the last two songs

BrokenChains
March 27th 2008



34 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Funnyman is the most underated song on this album. It's catchy...and I think the best song on the album. Pretty decent album overall.

timbo8
May 8th 2008



618 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

^ YES! Funnyman is the best song here, it's awesome. And overall this is a good album.



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