CD Review: KT Tunstall

Drastic Fantastic Virgin
Music •••½ Sound •••

For the follow-up to her debut, Eye to the Telescope, the Scottish-born, 32-year-old folk-rocker reaches for a bit more hard candy. She's charged up for the rock part of the equation, where power chords in compressed punches revisit the excitement of '70s New Wave ("Little Favours," "I Don't Want You Now") and sweeter, milder tracks accentuate a lilt of Parisian pop ("If Only," "Hopeless"). Processed electric and acoustic guitars and big choruses inflated with layers of swooning backup vocals make for a standard in-your-face modern production while Tunstall has a blast playing dress-up. Her folk side pokes out during the first half but isn't formally addressed until the album's final three tunes. Then, "Beauty of Uncertainty" sweeps past with a stalking bassline and a nightclub vibe. "Someday Soon" fingerpicks a country-inflected tune. And "Paper Aeroplane" ends the CD on a wistful note around the campfire. Essentially, we're getting two performers for the price of one.

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