Sound — 7
Shortly following the release of her debut album, British alternative rock artist KT Tunstall quickly became one of the most well known artists to break into the mainstream. "Eye to the Telescope" was immediately praised by critics, for being able to combine existing folk rock elements to a modernized radio-friendly sound. Her debut album also spawned a number of successful singles, such as "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" and "Other Side of the World," which continue to receive moderate airplay. The album was even being nominated for a Mercury Music Prize the following year.
"Eye to the Telescope" proved to be a bright highlight and promising start to KT Tunstall's music career. Since then, she has released several additional studio albums, "Drastic Fantastic" and "Tiger Suit": both of which continued to show a steady increase in popularity and a consistent style of sound. Now KT Tunstall is making her return to the music world in 2013, this time bearing her fourth studio album which shows the artist continuing the trend of maintaining your same sound that first allowed you to stand out from other up-and-coming acts through fresh sounding compositions.
The song "Invisible Empire" is one that established fans of KT Tunstall should have absolutely no difficulty whatsoever appreciating. The song is built around a quiet acoustic guitar riff, similar to that of the Western-influenced guitar-driven ballads. Tunstall sings a bright melody over the guitar work, occasionally being embraced by an orchestral section of deep violin playing. The song as a whole is very good, but if you try and compare it to her previous outings the track does admittedly fall flat. Some of the features that popularized her earlier hits, such as the group backup harmonies and apparent percussion section, are disturbingly vacant and are characteristics of her music that fans have become familiar with and expect to hear.
Lyrics — 8
KT Tunstall's singing style has not changed that much since her debut back in 2004. Her vocal range, as demonstrated in the previously mentioned track, is still very much intact and as strong as it's ever been. Her voice and lyrical delivery helps provide at times some country and folk overtones to the acoustic rock style proudly featured on "Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon." When she steps into new musical territory, it is her singing style that helps tie everything together and maintain that "KT Tunstall" sound.
Overall Impression — 7
"Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon" is a "KT Tunstall" album that is unlike anything she has done before. The similarities and anchor to her previously established sound are there. The country-infused vocal delivery, the colorful acoustic melodies. Some features that characterised her earlier outings are not as frequently showcased, such as the in-your-face backup vocals and angst-infused delivery, but perhaps that was the direction she was trying to take. There is a relaxing, unplugged-feel to this entire album that is very appealing and enjoyable to listen to. Any established fan of KT Tunstall, as well as acoustic rock in genre, should find this album to be a worthwhile release that only gets better with each listen. It is a different direction, but KT Tunstall not only manages to pull it off but do so gracefully.