Eye to the Telescope
First Appeared in The Music Box, February 2006, Volume 13, #2
Written by John Metzger
KT Tunstall is the latest in a seemingly never-ending stream of artists from the U.K. who, after conquering the charts in their homeland, have turned their attention to the North American market. Although her debut Eye to the Telescope is a far cry from perfect, it does contain enough promise to suggest that she might be one of the few who deserves to succeed. The biggest problem with the album, however, is that too often Tunstall undermines her material by catering to mainstream forces. Not only are her lyrics largely unexceptional ruminations upon relationships, but when she attempts to fuse Coldplay with Dido on Other Side of This World or, worse, dabbles in the gentle, straightforward folk of tracks like Under the Weather and Heal Over, the end result is merely pleasant but dull background music.
Still, Tunstallís ambitions undeniably are huge, and there are times on Eye to the Telescope when what she is singing matters less because her melodies and arrangements manage to lift her songs to a higher realm. On False Alarm, the albumís finest track, she deftly tucks The Beatles inside a heady, haunting swirl of Radiohead-esque dreaminess. Elsewhere, the supremely soulful Through the Dark meets Norah Jones on her own turf; the brisk, organic gallop of Black Horse and the Cherry Tree is utterly irresistible; and although Miniature Disasters may be too polished to matter, buried within its shimmer is the rhythmic creak of Tom Waits. Unfortunately, one gets the sense that Tunstall might be more focused upon achieving commercial viability than she is on crafting a grand, artistic vision. If thatís true, itís a shame because if sheís so inclined, she clearly has the talent to transcend her current flavor-of-the-month status.
Of Further Interest...
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2006 The Music Box