UG Team, on september 24, 2007 4 of 6 people found this review helpful
Sound: KT Tunstall is sitting in a very good position right now. She's one of few ladies in the pop rock world today that are earning both critical acclaim and a steadily growing fan base, thanks in part to her infectious, bluesy track Black Horse And The Cherry Tree. The anticipation has been high for the next release by Tunstall (who is known for bouncing between playing guitar and percussion during her stage shows), and her answer to the anxious fans is Drastic Fantastic. The record definitely has it's moments and at times does indeed live up to the hype. But while it is a satisfying piece of music, you can't help but think Tunstall has got a lot more to offer creatively than she's letting on.
The cover of her latest album Drastic Fantastic shows Tunstall holding a glitzy silver electric, and it's somewhat misleading. Her guitar playing is absolutely up to par, but an electric guitar is not the centerpiece of the album by any means. The acoustic is the name of the game, with maybe a little electric thrown in here and there. This shouldn't surprise fans, though, as her trademark song was driven by an acoustic (in this case, making just as big of an impression as a Les Paul). If you're hoping for the same sort of energetic anthem that Black Horse And The Cherry Tree provided, you're going to find a few too many relaxing moments along the way.
The opening track Little Favours is a fairly restrained introduction, although it does feature some of the best vocals on the record. In terms of instrumentation, it's primarily the acoustic and percussion that stand out, and it's what Tunstall does with the vocal aspect that makes the track stand out. In fact, she goes for a little bit of Dido's airy vocal style and it shows off her versatility. In terms of energy, Little Favours lands somewhere in the middle compared with the other tracks.
Not surprisingly, the first single Hold On marks the greatest resemblance to her hit Black Horse And The Cherry Tree. It doesn't have quite the novelty that Black Horse did when it first came out, but it's still a pretty fun listen. Most of the other tracks don't match the sound of her singles and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Tunstall is actually at her best when she strips off any unnecessary instrumentation and lets her passionate vocal delivery take over.
While the track Beauty Of Uncertainty is the polar opposite to the fun, rhythmic Hold On, it still manages to be the best track on the CD. It actually feels like a throwback to Johnny Cash, with Tunstall deepening her already intense alto voice to suit the haunting track. Even the guitar solo uses an effect that could have fit easily into any Cash song. There's a "real" quality about the song that immediately jumps out from the first note and it would be great to hear Tunstall experiment even more with the old school country style. // 8
Lyrics: While the choruses tend to get stuck in the same place lyrically, the verses rarely disappoint on Drastic Fantastic. She arranges each line in a way to communicate mundane ideas in a new way. Hold On is the perfect example, with the first line showing a nontraditional structure. Tunstall sings, Say you to me; You're a bird with an eye for the enemy shining; Searching the land for a hero of a man. There's a poetic quality on top of it all and her vocal delivery allows every word to be convincing. // 9
Overall Impression: Just when you think you've got Tunstall pegged, she throws something new at you. Besides her nod to Johnny Cash and her usual pop fare, she also has a touch of The Cure in one track. Saving My Face starts out with a fairly straightforward soul feel, but the song continues to build and eventually adds in a guitar part that sounds like a trademark Cure riff. The song as a whole stays true to Tunstall's sound, but it's little touches like the riff that sets the singer/songwriter apart on Drastic Fantastic.
It does seem like Tunstall does play it safe for much of the record, although her songwriting does indicate she's got more to offer. She has the ability to go from a sweet, cherubic vocal style to gritty groans, creating some of the most intriguing moments. That versatility shows up many times during Drastic Fantastic and she will hopefully let her inner Johnny Cash out even more by her next release. // 8
fabgirl99, on september 29, 2007 2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: For me this CD was much anticipated as this year I got back into KT after having had her first CD since it came out. I don't think it's possible to compare this record to her first. I also feel that the record itself splits, at least in 3 parts, there are the more rock N' roll style songs, with loads of energy and bluesy riffs, there are the acoustic ballad songs and lastly there are the poppy songs which are very catchy but definitely not KT's best.
01. Little Favours - is one of those pop songs, this song also upsets me as it sounds like KT has had her voice modified. However the end bit that has "this little universe between our backs" repeated sounds more like KT, especially melody wise.
02. If Only - is another of those pop songs but there are some nice harmonies in the chorus. The instrumentation is however, rather boring.
03. White Bird - is one of the Ballads. The instrumentation is very simple. The harmony is also very nice, and I'm sure it would also make a very nice "just acoustic" song.
04. Funnyman - this song is a bit Rock N' roll but mostly pop. Normally KT's mix of acoustic and electric guitar sounds good but on this it lets down a bit, the first verse sounds alright with just electric, the chorus sounds messy and although I'm sure it's on purpose it just doesn't go. However the keyboard/guitar instrumental sounds nice and they definitely compliment each other.
05. Hold On - more of a rock n' roll song although a bit hard to put in a genre, I think KT has always been good at deciding which songs should be singles, this song is a very good sum up of the album, the energy of this song is really easy to feel and the instrumentation is very good, especially the rhythm of the guitars.
06. Hopeless - is my personal favourite song on the album. It has a great mix of ballad style with good blues guitar and a fantastic melody. The chorus is very catchy and here KT shows how good she is at mixing electric and acoustic.
07. I Don't Want You Know - is a pop song. The song doesn't really go anywhere. There is nothing exciting about it.
08. Saving My Face - very good song, again hard to fix with a genre, but nice instrumentation especially the drumming, it really fits well. in an interview KT said she wrote this for the old album but it didn't fit, that is easily seen here as it has the sound of her old songs but fits better with the style of the new album.
09. Beauty Of Uncertainty - is a beautiful ballad, I think it should be completely acoustic but the bit at the end definitely takes it to a whole new level.
10. Someday Soon - is a very nice ballad. The guitar sounding slightly like blackbird by the Beatles but still very nice. very simple but effective melody.
11. Paper Aeroplane - sounds like something of KT's old album but is still very refreshing at the same time. // 8
Lyrics: I'm not normally that interested in lyrics, but there are some that particularly strike me. Hold on really has the atmosphere that the music is trying to portray so it fits really well. Hopeless also grabbed me as lyrics that felt great for someone to hold on too in a time where you feel that no one cares, a situation where we've all been. // 9
Overall Impression: I think overall KT has still got it and although it is definitely more commercial than her last album it is still the work of a great musician. I'd say hopeless, hold on and white bird are definitely the three to listen to. It's definitely worth the money to buy it! // 9
unregistered, on december 10, 2007 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: This album has more than a band sound, then the last album of her. This is important to know because the last album can be characterized as lo-fi and acoustic but this one can be characterized as folk-pop. Remember, this album is reflecting her drastic time and has some aspect of the "original KT" but to say the least, this album is 90 percent diff. from the last. "White Bird", nevermind the name sounds like Blackbird (The Beatles), but I guess is the satan of blackbird by the beatles. I can hear a lot of The Cure from this, the Jam. Listen to the song "I Don't Want You Now". The main chords in the song sound just like "That's Entertainment" by The Jam, but it's all good KT, I still love it. // 10
Lyrics: Lyrics are top notched compare to artists like her these days. I'm American so I hear a lot of American music but KT definitely fits in the current British music scene that's making it big around the world today. This is why I like Brit music these days. The lyrics are haunting at times, and at times very spontaneous, KT's singing style is very tough and gaunt, on this album, these two aspects are most apparent. // 9
Overall Impression: This album is way more different then the last one from KT. It has a more rock sound to it. The last album are full of lullaby songs, very softly crafted. I think because of KT finding her ground with her band and performing with them more, Drastic Fantastic has that touch, that touch of live performing. "Hopeless", "Funnyman", and "White Bird", "Saving My Face", "Hold On" are all amazing songs. I love the story of the songs, they are very intrigueing and captivate you into them, espeically when they match the sounds. If it were stolen, I would definitely do anything to buy it again. // 8