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I came across KT Tunstall's debut album, Eye to the Telescope (released in 2005), during my university days when I used to work in the Paperchase concession in the now sadly defunct Borders store in York. The music in the background used to be what I called 'Borders music', mainly consisting of dreary guitar fare from the likes of James Blunt and Nerina Pallot. KT Tunstall's record was, surprisingly, one that I grew to quite like, and once they stopped playing it in Borders I bought my own copy. The album opens with the gentle, wistful Other Side of the World, and cranks up the energy with Another Place to Fall. Under the Weather is a melancholic bad-weather-as-metaphor track that is oddly comforting, while Black Horse and the Cherry Tree, with its catchy refrain of "No, no, no, no no no, you're not the one for me", is a bizarre fable involving a talking horse. Miniature Disasters is a worldly-wise track with a strong rhythm. Silent Sea is a melancholic track about the end of a relationship, with strong imagery about being cast out on the ocean. Universe & U is a sweet love song and False Alarm is a sad, reflective effort. Suddenly I See is an uptempo song about someone with lots of charisma and charm. Stoppin' the Love is a sweet song while Heal Over is another melancholy love song. Closing track Through the Dark shuns the guitar in favour of the piano for an effective and different closing track. Overall, I really like this album and it's perfect for a quiet rainy weekend. The songs are pretty different and have more attitude and energy than a lot of coffee-shop guitar music! Highly recommended. Track Listing 1. Other Side of the World 2. Another Place to Fall 3. Under the Weather 4. Black Horse and the Cherry Tree 5. Miniature Disasters 6. Silent Sea 7. Universe & U 8. False Alarm 9. Suddenly I See 10. Stoppin' the Love 11. Heal Over 12. Through the Dark
KT Tunstall's songs are folk-rock with pop influences. One of my favourite things about this artist is that each of her songs is meaningful, there are no empty lyrics which is a pet hate of mine! You can buy this album for around £6 from the usual online outlets nowadays as it has been out for a good number of years. I borrowed it from the library having heard of KT and she did not disappoint! 1. Other Side of the World A poignant, nostalgic sounding song, which can be interpreted in a few ways. Is it about long distance love? Or is it a metaphor for someone being close feeling faraway? If anyone is interested, there is an absolutely beautiful live rendition over on Youtube from a T in the Park festival. 2. Another Place to Fall I quite like this album to listen to in the car, and Another Place to Fall is surprisingly catchy. It wasn't one I listened to at first when I got the album, but it captures the range of her voice and I really like this track. I think this song is about overcoming difficulties and sorting yourself out without relying on other people. 3. Under The Weather A wonderfully relaxing song, listen to this calming track if you are going to download one track! It's a metaphor of weather and unhappiness. 4. Black Horse & the Cherry Tree This song is filled with attitude and KT rocks the guitar well in this one. This song was recently done on the Voice too I think! KT does attitude well and I love this rendition of the song. Rich vocals and catchy melody and beat make this song a good one. 5. Miniature Disasters This song is an off beat song, with notes of Amy Winehouse in the vocals I always think! It is about small things which go wrong as the title suggests. 6. Silent Sea This song opens with an eerie start, and continues with gentle guitar chords and soft vocals. I really like listening to this one, as it is so thoughtfully put together. 7. Universe & U Another slowed paced song, this song seems to be about someone special. It also has reference to long distance love. Quite a nice track, with slow, melodic guitar. 8. False Alarm I really like this one, it begins with a note of resignation and weariness and continues with an edge of nostalgia and sadness. It sounds a little like waking up in sadness. 9. Suddenly I See Probably the best known KT Tunstall song, this song was played on the radio a lot round it's time of release. I love this song, it makes me feel uplifted in some way, though I don't think I liked it as much when I first heard it! It is quite a motivating track. 10. Stoppin the love An optimistic track, complete with echoes and guitar effects. 11. Heal Over I can't confess to having listened to the tracks toward the end of the album much. Another beautiful track for KT's vocals. 12. Through The Dark A soft track to finish the album with gorgeous piano and a steady beat to accompany her voice. This song, like many of them on the album, is about moving forward past difficulty, which is where the telescope reference comes in I would guess, looking into the future or trying to predict what will happen next! --Summary-- Get this album! I don't think there is a weak track on the album, they are all listenable. KT has a stunning voice and plays the guitar really well.
**The Artist** KT Tunstall is an award winning Scottish singer-songwriter. She is well known for her lively, attention grabbing live performances at festivals such as Glastonbury and is an incredible, unique, female solo artist. So far she has released three successful studio albums: Eye to the Telescope (2004) KT Tunstall's Acoustic Extravaganza (2006) Drastic Fantastic (2007) **My Favourite Tracks** **#4.Black Horse and the Cherry Tree** I loved this song because it was completely different to the style and sound of most female artists around that time. It's got a fast, hard pace with KT playing acoustic guitar and on vocals, which are also different to most female artists. Black Horse and the Cherry Tree is about feeling lost and finding yourself. I also think it gives the message that everything in life happens for a reason and how you have to find out who you are to be happy. Just my interpretation though! My favourite lyrics from this track are: " My heart hit a problem in the early hours so I stopped it dead for a beat or two, but I cut some chord and I shouldn't have done it, and it wont forgive me after all these years." I would rate this song 7/10. **Silent Sea** When I first bought this album this as the song that I had stuck on repeat for days because it's brilliant! The verses are strong and slow as is the chorus and KT's vocals are fantastic. I think that this song is about heartbreak and how she wasn't expecting a relationship to end and how much it hurts, I think everyone can relate to that! It's such a nice song. My favourite lyrics on this track are: "I was happy in my harbour when you cut me loose, floating on an ocean and confused, winds are whipping waves up like sky scrapers and the harder they hit me the less I seem to bruise." I would rate this song 10/10, definitely my favourite on the album! **#11.Heal Over** Next to Silent Sea, Heal over is my second favourite track, it makes me smile every time I hear it. It is a very simple song with KT playing guitar and singing perfectly. There are loads of messages in this song and everyone relates to it differently. Possibly about how everyone will get hurt in life but you have to pick yourself up and keep going and things will get better. Another interpretation is that it is about someone who thinks they are hiding the fact that they are upset well, but she can see that they are hurting. Maybe there is no hidden meaning and it's just about relationships but most of KT's songs do have very strong messages, either way, I absolutely love it! My favourite lyrics from this track are: "I don't wanna hear you tell yourself that these feelings are in the past, you know it doesn't mean that they're of the shelf because pain is built to last, everybody sails alone but we can travel side by side, even if you fail you know that no one really minds." Another 10/10 from me! **Tracklist** #1.Other Side Of The World #2.Another Place To Fall #3.Under The Weather #4.Black Horse And The Cherry Tree #5.Minature Disasters #6.Silent Sea #7.Universe & U #8.False Alarm #9.Suddenly I See #10.Stoppin' The Love #11.Heal Over #12.Through The Dark **My Overall Opinion** This album is fantastic. There are so many different styles and meanings. Every single song tells a story and that's what I love about KT Tunstall. She doesn't just write meaningless crowd pleasers, she writes unique, thought provoking tracks for every mood! Also, she has such a powerful voice! I would recommend this track to everyone because it really is brilliant. 10/10!
KT Tunstall Eye to the Telescope This debut album was released in 2005 after she got some serious acclaim for some live performances. I have to say, having listened to 'Black Horse and the Cherry Tree' I was quite quickly down to HMV (this was when I still bought CD's) and settled back to listen. There are few CD's that make it regular listening in my house and this is not one of them, so transferring to iTunes, I thought I'd give it another listen. KT writes or co writes all the songs, always a plus for me. She also plays a number of instruments and has a real liking for a bluesy folk type of performance, and she comes from the UK (Scotland). Anyway, what about the music? ~~~The Tracks~~~ 1. Other Side of the World Probably one of the best known songs and probably the obvious choice for an opening song, however, not what I would have chosen as an opener. It is not an acoustic song, but feels like one.....it feels like we should be on the beach at sunset, beers in hand, fire lit. It is 'nice', that I'm afraid does not really do it for me. It is good, it is musically competent, her vocals are good, but, and there is a 'but', it is a bit too twee for me. 6/10. 2. Another Place to Fall A bit more angsty, a song that has powerful lyrics and a dark undertone, yet she sings it joyously....this song should be slowed down, have less instruments and be sung with more angst in the voice. 5/10. 3. Under the Weather This song is very, very slow to get going. Oh it's nice, nice piano, nice soft vocal, nice lyrics, all hippy and heart, I wanna be sick. Then about a minute from the end it breaks into life and we get rock chick vocals and some decent drumming and lead guitar, only for it to 'settle down' again. 4/10. 4. Black Horse and the Cherry Tree This song is fantastic, very bluesy and ballsy, from the first few bars we get a raunchy guitar, drum and nice low, growly vocal (well compared to her others). This is the sort of song she should be singing all the time. The lyrics are very much in a traditional folk style, but the singing and beat is very much blues/rock. Great stuff, really gets the foot tapping and the juices flowing. 9/10. 5. Miniature Disasters Strange song this, great lyrics, very sultry jazz/blues and she almost pulls it off, but does not quite. If she slowed it down and made it a bit more 'woman scorned' it would be great, instead it is just good. Love the clapping to the beat and some of the jazzy overtones. 7/10. 6. Silent Sea No thank you, silky ballad that is just too hippy drippy for me.....'floating on an ocean', please! 2/10. 7. Universe & U A ballad again, this time it works. Why? Because it is simple. The lyrics are very clear, very simple, bit bluesy and indie at the same time, I could imagine Oasis singing this. She makes this song believable and that helps. As the song goes on, more instruments join the party and the song builds well. 7/10. 8. False Alarm An almost Indian Sitar sound at the beginning which promises much. It does not quite get there. It is okay, and it keeps making the listener feel like it is about to flourish and yet it ebbs again. I actually listened to this twice before writing about it. The second time I thought, "No, actually it's quite good". The truth is I cannot make my mind up. 5/10. 9. Suddenly I See Another popular single from her, and for me much better than the last track. I quite like this, it has a Beatles feel to it, though I am not sure everyone would agree with that. The guitar and keyboards are really rather infectious, the vocals very Sheryl Crow or Suzanne Vega like. The chorus is catchy, and the lyrics are okay too. I like the end section where she gets all jazzy again. 7/10. 10. Stoppin' the Love I have a liking for this song, I do like it when she peels away some of the instruments and gets down with guitar, drums, keyboard and clapping. Also some nice backing vocals here. There is a touch of gospel in this song, but not overtly, a touch of blues, a touch of rock. Very good. 8/10. 11. Heal Over Very acoustic, basically just acoustic and bass guitar and drums, with a haunting vocal that is very listenable. Feels like she means this song too, quite slow and meaningful, her singing to another woman, as catharsis. I do like this, good Sunday evening chill track. 7/10. 12. Through the Dark Opening tracks and closing tracks are important to me. This starts with a great bit of almost gospel piano playing. Her vocal comes in and matches well, not gospel but certainly has that feel, with a seriously jazz flavour. She could sing jazz standards really well. Her voice here is very like Madeleine Peroux. Yet this gospel overtone and slow build means it aint ever gonna be classed as jazz. 2nd best track on the album. 8/10. ~~~Finally~~~ I don't know why this has sat in my CD cupboard for so long, it's a very good album really. I have transferred tracks; 1, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12 to my iTunes, which means that for me, at least half of the tracks are good or better. She has a great voice in the lower range, especially when singing songs that have a more blues or jazz flavour. Her voice in the upper range when she is being all folksy and hippy does not really work for me, yet, that she can do this shows great versatility.
mercury nominated- need i say much more? a leader in its class, this album is for just about anyone- it has terrifically catchy pop songs, gorgeous acoustic tunes and some of the best chill out music around. the production on the vocals is realistic, the guitar just perfect, and thats before you even get down to listening to the music it makes. this is what made kt tunstall big, and it does her every justice to be put alongside other greats of our time: i would even go as far as to... compare her... to... regina spektor. and i'm not just saying that- i wasn't a huge fan of kt tunstall before i got her albums, but now... i've found that she has that perfect feel for chilled out evenings, having an album on in the background. yes, good background music. and thats not an amazing thing, but thats what it is, and i appreciate it for that. oh and of course its chart toppers. you could say it has everything really. haha i've probably confused you all now! definitely worth buying- this has filled a gap in my collection i didn't realise i had.
In the summer of 2005 Britain and the rest of the world was taken by storm by a young singer songwrtier by the name of KT Tunstall, this was her big breakthrough album and was entitled "Eye of the Telescope". I remember the first time I heard anything off of it. The song was "Suddenly I see" and from that made me want to hear more. So it was off to HMV I went to get it. Well worth the £10.99 that I paid for it. The first single that KT released was named "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" , this although being a decent track, wasn't the best on the album, however her second single really was a cracker, a very moody but powerful song by the name "Other Side of the World" This is my favourite track on the album. From there she really hit her stride with the release of "Suddenly I See"which was a very upbeat feel good hit ideal for it's summertime release. Track Listing: 1. Other Side of the World 2. Another Place to Fall 3. Under the Weather 4. Black Horse and the Cherry Tree 5. Miniature Disasters 6. Silent Sea 7. Universe & U 8. False Alarm 9. Suddenly I See 10. Stoppin' the Love 11. Heal Over 12. Through the Dark All in all this is a fantastic album from start to finish that I think everyone should give a chance and have a listen to, this is the album that made KT a huge star and with good reaon. Thumbs Up.
When Katherine McPhee first sang the song "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" on American Idol season 5, I was totally wowed. This wasn't just because I liked listening to Katherine (although I did), but because the song was just that fantastic. That's how I discovered singer/songwriter KT Tunstall and that's why I bought her debut album "Eye to the Telescope". If you didn't see McPhee cover that song (twice), perhaps you heard one of KT's other songs on television. Her songs have appeared on TV shows such as "Gray's Anatomy", "Criminal Minds" and "Windfall". You'll even hear her singing in the pilot for the new American TV comedy "Ugly Betty", and one of her songs is included in the soundtrack for the film "The Devil Wears Prada". That's quite an accomplishment for such a new voice in the music world. That KT is originally from Scotland, known better in the UK than in the USA, makes this even more of an achievement, and hopefully this will get her noticed even more. That all the songs from these appearances appear on her debut album is no surprise. Really good singer/songwriters are few and far between these days and we seem to get far too many artists who have to depend on behind the scenes writers that don't always write songs that the singers can identify with. A good songwriter writes from the heart about things that touch them and will hopefully be about subjects that touch others as well. If a songwriter can sing their own songs, there is usually no one who can come close to their sincerity of performance. While I think both Katharine McPhee's performances of "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" were excellent, hearing the original on this album was an even better experience. Apparently, I'm not alone in this opinion since she's been nominated for a Grammy in the 'Best Female Pop Vocal Performance' category for this song. So what makes KT special? One of the things is that I think she shows a great deal of creativity in her lyrics. For instance, there's a line in Suddenly I See "she fills up every corner like she's born in black and white". This is both original and evocative in that we not only get an expression that is as far from a cliché as possible, but it's also something that makes us stop and think. While not all of her songs are filled with poetic genius, I must admit that her use of language is far more sophisticated than what we have been accustomed to hear these days. Even when she's using what seems like plain language, we get the feeling that there's more to it than meets the eye. This is more akin to lyrics we might expect from more veteran songwriters like Joni Mitchell, with a funky twist, which reminds me of Rikie Lee Jones or Tracy Chapman. Another thing that impressed me is the subject matter she sings about. This isn't a bunch of sappy love songs you might expect from a young artist even though love is certainly one of her major themes. There are those who would compare her to Melissa Etheridge possibly because of her sexual preferences. I would consider this an insult to KT since Etheridge's songs tend to include such depths of angst that she's either depressing or just downright boring. This cannot be said of KT at all. KT takes love, as well as other subjects, and tries to find a personal side to them, looking at them from different angles than others that have gone before her. For instance, in "Under the Weather" she takes the literal metaphor of weather to express how she's feeling and then includes the expression interpretation behind the title (i.e., feeling unwell) to emphasize her point emotional disappointments can give you physical symptoms, as well. I call that both subtle and clever, if you ask me. But what really stands KT apart from other singers today is her sound. The thing is, I'd like to be able to categorize KT's songs in one specific genre, but I think that's not only impossible, but would be doing her a disservice. She's considered to be a Pop singer if the Grammy's are anything to go by. But here's the thing this album seems to cross genres, not only between songs, but sometimes within a single song. For instance, the last song on the album "Through the Dark" starts out so Country it is almost painful. However, as the song progresses, the Country twang of the opening seems to fade into a more blues-like ballad. So, what started out sounding like a song I was going to dislike totally, became one of my favourites on the album! How about her bluesy "Stoppin' the Love" she brings in backup singers on a bass line that borders on a Gospel sound. Then, in the middle of that song there's a short melody turn which she sings with such a crooner voice and attitude that I'm sure even Frank Sinatra would be envious. How special is that? This mixture of genres seems to be a specialty of KT's. for instance, in "Suddenly I See", she puts a pause on the pop-rock sound for a bit in the middle that's very jazzy, has a slower tempo than the rest of the song and reminds me of what Rickie Lee Jones did in her song "Chuck-E's in Love". She does this again in the song "Another Place to Fall" where the interlude here gets an electronic tone to it. The only songs where she doesn't do some of this are in "False Alarm" and "Heal Over". This isn't to say that these songs are bad, it's just that they're both less unique in their sound than the rest of the album. Mind you, I really like the sentiment in "Heal Over" and the lyrics though simple are still evocative, and she does mix blues and country here. I'd say that "False Alarm" is probably the weakest link in this album, being a touch more down-beat and with only one genre (an acoustic ballad) apparent at least to my ears. That said, I should mention that KT's voice quality is still perfect here and this is why I don't dislike this song, I only find it less appealing than the rest of the songs on the album. Speaking of KT's voice quality, I have noticed that she's been compared to Dido apparently much to her chagrin. While there is a similar vocal smoothness and tonal perfection, which does remind one of Dido in spots, KT can belt it with a rougher edge than Dido ever could. This reminds me more of Lee Jones and Chapman, but with a mellowness that comes close to the early-career sounds of Joni Mitchell, with a touch of Alanis Morissette. It certainly makes her sound more remarkable than Dido and her songs are more varied and interesting. You know, if you've heard one Dido song, you've heard them all and this is so no so with KT, that it isn't funny! My only qualm would be that sometimes she is a touch sloppy with her diction and we have to strain to hear what she's trying to say in her songs. Of course, that's what the CD liner is for to check out the lyrics. When all is said and done, KT's album "Eye to the Telescope" is a real winner. KT has a very special and unique voice both literally and in her songwriting. She and her songs aren't the least bit boring or complacent. She can do up-beat pop, rock, folk, country, blues, jazz, even throw some gospel into the recipe, and not sound at all patchy or phony. She gives us thought provoking, classy and mature lyrics that aren't effected or gauche. She sounds equally good with any type of accompaniment from classic orchestra to rock band, but can also shine with acoustic, plain guitar, solo piano and a-cappella with real virtuosity. In short, KT Tunstall is a real gem of a singer/songwriter and I highly recommend that you buy her debut album "Eye to the Telescope". She is a rising star (already a Grammy nominee) and I'll give her a full five here to reinforce this, despite any tiny minor drawbacks I've mentioned. Thanks for reading! Davida Chazan © January 2007 ~~~~~ Technical Stuff: KT Tunstall has an official webpage (http://www.kttunstall.com/) and you can read all about her background as well as download her music (via iTunes) or link directly to Amazon.co.uk to buy this album. I bought mine from Amazon and paid £4.97 for it and it was worth every penny! I noticed the play.com sells this for £5.99 delivered, and cdwow.com sells it for £6.49 or £6.99 delivered (I can't tell the difference between the two listings). Tracks on this album are: 1. Other Side of the World 2. Another Place to Fall 3. Under The Weather 4. Black Horse & the Cherry Tree 5. Miniature Disasters 6. Silent Sea 7. Universe & U 8. Suddenly I See 9. Stoppin' the Love 10. False Alarm 11. Heal Over 12. Through The Dark ~~~~~
Ill be honest with you right from the start, I must confess to being a sucker for a female vocal, its the one thing assured to make me sit up and take notice. Since my days as a young gothic garbed rocker slavishly following All About Eve around the country and being totally captivated with the dulcet tones of Julianne Regan, my taste in that respect hasnt changed much. Suzanne Vega had a similar effect and even in more recent times Dido seems to recapture that quality that always appealed to me. I will be the first to admit that she is a one trick pony, she has one style and thats really it, but there is something in those ethereal, breathy sounds that gets under my skin. So that said, when I first heard K T Tunstalls break through single Other Side of the World there was much that appealed to me and I knew that this was someone that I was going to have to explore further. KT only took up guitar at the very late age of 16, although she had already mastered piano and flute and had honed her voice listening to Ella Fitzgerald. After spending time in America soaking up gigs by 10000 Maniacs and the Grateful Dead she found herself returning to her native Scotland to become part of the scene that spawned such cult bands as The Fence Collective and The Beta Band. From there it was a short trip to London, U2s producer and the Album that I find myself listening to as I write. The album kicks off with the aforementioned Other Side of the World a song that neatly blends the soft sophistication of the likes of Dido, with a richer, less fragile delivery and a folk sensibility. Very much still one girl with a guitar dominating the song but with the neat use of double tracking, multi-layering and additional piano, not to mention simple drumming nailing it tightly down. There is a full band playing but the minimalist approach to the production reminds you what is being offered up here and the girl with her name on the cover remains the main event at all times. Names such as Beth Orton on a particularly happy day and even the queen of them all, Carole King are not out of place as comparisons here but KT (apparently the text-generation version of her actual name, Katie) still has enough of her own way about her to not come off as a mere copyist. So this was where my familiarity ends and from here on in it I would have to see if the rest of the album stood the test. Another Place to Fall immediately heads of in another direction, a sub jazz drum shuffle and self assured rhythm and blues drive makes it worlds apart from the opening number, a style that rivals the likes of Bjork for the quirkiness of its tempo, but retains a slick sanity that our favourite Icelandic hobbit never quite manages to rein in. Around this point Im starting to think, well maybe there is nothing that new here, but not everyone needs to break new ground, its often enough to say its not what you do (especially if you are pretty much doing what everyone else is) its the way that you do it. With that in mind there is no denying the panache of the opening two numbers and Im quietly confident for whats to follow. And what follows is the sparser Under the Weather and KTs voice seems to take on a youthful aspect and sounds not too dissimilar to Suzanne Vega in its approach but set apart by her Scottish burr in the voice and the willingness to beef the music up from folk to a laid back rock dynamic in the middle eight. Black Horse and The Cherry Tree another up and coming single carries us off in a more gospel soul direction but its dominant acoustic guitar grounding it in the folk-pop sound that pervades the rest of the album. The infectious chorus gets right in your head, on even the first listening, and whilst that has your attention an electric guitar slowly powers the song up to a climactic finish. Miniature Disasters is another minimal song, heavy on the percussion and again tipping its hat to gospel in the vocal department. This is however the first song that doesnt really hit home on first hearing, for me anyway. There is nothing inherently wrong with it, all the ingredients are there and on paper Im sure it looked like a winner, but somehow the songs is less than the sum of its parts. Maybe its because the album has set itself a fairly high standard just in these first few numbers but we can allow her a few less than brilliant moments. There is a smooth late night quality to Silent Sea a richness of the voice, a laid back soul feel to the vocal delivery and a very spacey accompaniment on the guitar and drums that leaves lots of room for the bewitching and versatile delivery. The musically fairly ordinary Universe and U may not be any great shakes in many ways, but again the voice seems to make up for it. It is however the sort of song that the likes of Christina Aguilera would die to have a shot at, a song that really is designed to promote the vocals above all else. That said shed probably go totally over the top and murder it anyway so maybe we should forget that idea. This song, like many others on the album typifies the fact that although this is very much an album of the moment it would very easily slip onto the Radio 2 play list without a second glance. False Alarm passes buy without creating much of a stir, but as the next song wanders into view I realise that I actually know two songs by the artist. Suddenly I See is the sort of upbeat pop groove that the album was crying out for at this point. It has the same flavour about it as the recently re-launched Nerina Pallott who is rightly picking up a bit of airplay at long last. Heavy edged guitar power chords and dominant bass notes resonate in perfect contrast with a jaunty acoustic guitar and bouncy rim shot rhythms. The affected guitar sounds of Stoppinthe Love and the slow stomp that it sets in motion are a contrast to the previous number but its sumptuous multi layered vocals and brooding background violin win through. The last two songs Heal Over and Through the Dark take the album into a darker, mellower place. Not that theres anything wrong with this but I was hoping that there would be more brighter upbeat numbers and the album seems to end on two low a note for my liking. One of the things that she seems most proud about is the fact that she very much writes her own songs. Although with the recent flurry of young female solo acts, Tunstall seems to be hitting the scene at a very opportune time, she rightly sees herself as slightly set apart from some of her competition. As she pointed out in a recent interview Katie Melua has only two co-writing credits on her whole album and Joss Stone seems content to release an album of covers. Self-expression as the young Scot wryly observes, is not a team game. Lyrically there seems to be little new here, songs of troubled isolation and reflection seem to dominate and even the more upbeat songs seem to have a more reflective nature to them when put under the microscope. I did like this album, not as much as I was hoping I would, two more tracks akin to the singles and it would have done the job for me. That said its still a great debut and KT Tunstall is someone to look out for in the years to come.
Sometimes Im so dim, I scare even myself. Having heard good things about K T Tunstalls debut Eye to the Telescope, especially already being a fan of Michelle Branch, who seemed to be in a similar vein, I was intrigued. Even more so upon hearing that the album was in the running for the Mercury Music prize which had previously welcomed the likes of the Darkness Permission to Land, an album I like. At the same time, I was quite taken by a song at the end of the BT Yahoo adverts. I didnt know who performed it, but I was quite keen to find out, as it sounded really good. It wasnt until I saw this album on the shelf with a sticker on the front saying that it featured Suddenly I See, which it seemed likely that the BT song could be called, to judge by the lyrics. It was too noisy in the shop to hear the penny dropping, but thats precisely what happened. So, several months after a lot of people had decided this was a good album, it was time for me to decide if I agreed. Having been both greatly rewarded and severely punished for impulse buys in the past, experience wasnt enough to put me off buying this one on the back of a couple of good reviews and an enjoyable snippet of song. The album opens with the quite laid back Other Side of the World. Its a very simple track, little more than a low key mid tempo pop song, although there is a very slight folk edge coming through, especially in the vocals. Although well crafted, its not really a song that drags you into the album but is more suited to background music. Another Place to Fall is a little livelier, which helps. Theres a darker feel to the music and the vocals, although it is still quite a heavily pop influenced track. Its again a mid tempo track, although the chorus is a little more lively and sounds a bit like something The Corrs might do, although they would add a violin. Although a bit more up tempo than the opening track, it still isnt something that really jumps up and grabs you. The album continues to make very little impact with Under the Weather. Its a nicely crafted, down tempo, acoustic pop ballad, with a little of a folk tint here and there. Tunstalls voice is good enough and its a decent song, but until it livens up towards the end, theres really nothing to it worth paying much attention to. Its by no means a bad track, it just doesnt have a great deal about it that makes it stand out and it is a little dull, in truth. After what has gone before, Black Horse and the Cherry Tree hits you like a breath of fresh air. Its an upbeat acoustic pop track, with quirky lyrics and a bouncy beat. Theres a slightly folk edge again that would make this something that the Corrs could have come up with or one of Texas more pop moments. Miniature Disasters isnt quite so upbeat, although it doesnt fall into being as dull as some of the earlier tracks. Its another quirky little pop song and the backing vocals do give it a more rounded and more complete feel than some of the others, which seem stripped quite bare in comparison. It still doesnt strike me as being anything particularly noteworthy, however. The tempo and the excitement drops again for Silent Sea. Its again a rather dull acoustic pop ballad with nothing that makes it stand out a great deal. After the last couple of tracks, this somehow feels even more disappointing, as you know Tunstall can pull out some interesting tracks, but she doesnt seem inclined to. Sadly, Universe & U is more of the same. There is a little more involved with the sound being a little more rounded, but its still a slightly dull and uninspiring down tempo pop song, although parts of it do get a bit heavier and slightly reminiscent of Texas from the mid to late 1990s. Despite the music box like sounds over the back, False Alarm is really another insipid acoustic based down tempo pop track, much like many of the earlier tracks. As with much of the album previously, this makes for decent background music, but not for a great listening experience if youre trying to play music for pleasure. After a long wait, there is another more interesting track. This time it is Suddenly I See, the song which persuaded me to buy the album in the first place. Its a great upbeat and bouncy pop track with folk leanings, particularly in the backing vocals, which make it sound like a better version of the Corrs. Again, this is just a one off, as Stoppin the Love slows the tempo down again, although there is a much more bass edge to the song. Its almost got a soul or jazz feel in parts, especially when the backing vocals come in. Its not got a particularly captivating feel to it, but the dark edge does make it different enough to the rest of the album for it to stand out a little, possibly more than it would deserve on its own. Heal Over is back to the more standard sound of the album. Its a nicely crafted acoustic pop ballad, that doesnt really go anywhere interesting. The backing vocals drift it slightly in the direction of the kind of thing a girl group might do as a ballad, but without ever elevating the song too far above the mundane. The final track, Through the Dark is notable only in that it uses a piano as a main instrument, rather than an acoustic guitar as has been the case for most of the album. As far as the track goes, thats really about all there is to be said, as its yet another down tempo pop song that could almost be considered a dirge. After being swayed into buying the album thanks to Suddenly I See, I cant help but feel a little let down by what I ended up with. However, if youre into gentle acoustic pop with a slight folk edge, such as the likes of Lene Marlin or the Corrs, you may find you enjoy this very much. Its available fairly cheaply if you want to take a chance on it, as copies have been seen on eBay from as little as 99 pence. Newer copies can be had from as little as £6.99 from CD Wow, but I wouldnt recommend paying anything like this price for an album so lacklustre, even though its not bad value for that sort of money in terms of playing time, with 12 tracks and 45 minutes of music. Its very much middle of the road listening, almost like a newer version of something like Sheryl Crow. Its the kind of album that can only be listened to as background music to some other activity, rather than as something to concentrate on, as it simply isnt strong enough to capture your attention. Its the kind of album you could only play at a party if most of the people there have both their legs in casts and cant dance, otherwise youre likely to upset people who would like to have a bit of fun. Im not going to say this is a bad album on its own merits, as Tunstall has a good eye for a quirky lyric and the songs are nicely put together acoustic pop ballads for the most part, even if the sheer number of them makes the album start to get very repetitive before too long. But it just isnt the kind of thing I would normally listen to and the early promise that the singles Suddenly I See and Black Horse and the Cherry Tree seemed to be making went unfulfilled, which was a let down for me personally.
I first encountered KT Tunstall on the Jools Holland show. Her music struck me as fresh and innnovative, she has a style of her own and sounds quite unlike anyone else around at the moment. I bought the CD as much out of curiosity as anything else but I was glad I did. I can't fault any of the tracks on this album at all, I found them all uniquely inspiring and lyrically excellent. The track listing is as follows: 1. Other side of the world 2. Another place to fall 3. Under the weather 4. Black Horse and the Cherry Tree 5. Miniature disasters 6. Silent Sea 7. Universe & U 8. False Alarm 9. Suddenly I see 10. Stoppin the love 11. Heal Over 12. Through the dark This album has it all, from an instant upbeat classic such as 'Black Horse and the Cherry Tree' to slower more relaxed tune such as 'Another place to fall', there is something for everyone here. The album is of a reasonable length - 12 tracks, although I did find myself wishing it was longer. The music is in the main, thought provoking and relaxing and KT Tunstalls voice over the soft tones of the music provides a welcome relief from all the manufactured pop that seems to fill the charts at the moment. For a debut album, this is an amazing achievement and I would recommend it to anyone.
Performer K T Tunstall The Album Eye To The Telescope. Released 2005 on the Relentless/EMI label £9.97 from Morisons The owners of the factory where I work insist on piping the local radio station around the factory, Pirate FM, and its utter shite. So as a result, it is usually ignored but just occasionally they play something that gets the ears atwitching. And so it was when they stated playing KT Tunstalls Other Side Of The World. Ah, thought I, something that stands out from the rest of the independent radio dross. And I was right, for that one song. As for the rest of the album: The sticker on the front of the case says A truly special new talent (attributed to the Times, nuff said!) but Im not so sure. Im certain it must be very good as it is doing rather well in the charts, all over the place. But on first listening, I could not figure out why Eye To The Telescope is so popular. But then it clicked. There is nothing actually wrong with the album, but it doesnt get in your face either, its just sort of,there. A perfectly nice adornment for a coffee table and there must be millions of coffee tables around. Its the sort of album Bridget Jones would listen to. Do you watch Friends? Yes? Then you should own this album, its right up your street, believe me. Eye To The Telescope tries very successfully to avoid being too much of anything, but steers a careful coarse between any kind of genre without actually falling in and as a result remains perfectly anonymous. An 'Everyman' record, because it appeals to just about everyone. Which makes it perfect for local independent radio, and so means it will be played to death. Unassuming, inoffensive and insipid, the album bolls along on a wave of semi acoustic, white man (sorry, woman) Americana. She has obviously had a thing about jazz because you I hear it, but the influence is kept in its cage. Theres a fair old folk influence in here too, and again it is kept to a minimum. The result being that all we are left with is a collection of songs that would grace any late evening diner party without getting in the way of the chatter around the table. Completely characterless. In fact, I suspect a KT Tunstall gig would not be in a sweat box of a club. No: rather she would be in the corner of a swanky restaurant/club somewhere in up town New York quietly plucking away on an acoustic guitar or twiddling a piano whilst gently singing to no one in particular. With no one in particular taking any notice. After several listens Eye To The Telescope still doesnt leave a lasting memory or any kind of impression. While the album is playing, the songs are quite good and try to wheedle their way into my subconscious, but once its finished I cant quite recall any of them. Black Horse And The Cherry Tree grooves along quite nicely as does Suddenly I See, but thats just the problem, its all very nice. Safe. There is no drive, no grit, nothing that suggests shes prepared to nail her colours to the mast and stand up to be counted. There is no reason why this should be. Shes got the voice, although it does come perilously close to sounding like Dido in a less pathetic and maudlin mood. The bands got it too, so between them they shouldve been able to make something a little more immediate than the polished, very nice effort we have here. This is not a record to have playing whilst you are getting things done. No: its the sort of thing you have on the death decks when you have nothing in-particular to do and do not want motivating to find something worth while to be getting on with. I dunno! Maybe its just me. I must admit I like a vocal style thats a little more weary, whiskey soaked and fag stained, whether its a male or female singer. Perhaps the delivery isnt quite as edgy to that Im used to or the band quite as driven. The songs dont get under my skin and tell stories that offer anything of interest. Or it could be that I heard it on our crap local radio station (bringing you the best variety in music, a shame its the same variety of music, on the hour, every hour) first instead. Put it this way, you wont hear any of Springsteens new, parental warning included, stuff on Pirate FM. I think that sums up Eye To The Telescope. Its just unassuming and offers nothing that will insult the senses. Just a nice album. With nice songs that will look great on your nice coffee table, and no danger of offending your nice friends. A shame.
KT Tunstall is probably the best Female singer/songwriter around at the minute. In what i believe has been a pretty dull year for music KT has emerged as a real sucess story. I cant wait for her next album! I first saw KT on Later with jools holland where she performed a standout version of 'black horse and the cherry tree' I was blown away.. It was just amazing the way she performs that song live using delay pedals to overlay her vocals and guitar parts...Genius!! Kt has had a good year, and released some great singles to boot..Stand out tracks include the afforementioned song and Otherside of the world. I Believe she is up for a mercury music prize as well, i think it would be a shame if she dont win, Tho im sure the brit awards next year will definetly honour her! Kt is a great singer and songwriter, her voice is smooth and creamy as well as grainy and bluesy, and her songs are very well crafted I think this album will appeal to anyone that likes singer/songwriters or good music in general! NOT TO BE COMPARED WITH DIDO KT IS THE REAL DEAL!! BUY THIS
If you hadnt noticed its come around to that time of year when the Mercury Music Prize is going to be awarded, and the dreadfully over-rated Kaiser Chiefs are favourites to win it, theres plenty of albums out there that I think deserve it over the Chiefs but more specifically theres an artiste called KT Tunstall, who if she doesnt win it - well Ill cry, the reason being for the awesome album that is Eye to the Telescope. ** The Singer ** I first got into KT (Shortened to save my fingers) when I saw her do a gig at Fibbers in York this February, a friend of mine had recommended that I go see it and it was well worth the entrance fee. Originally from St.Andrews but with Chinese Blood in her, her up-bringing was anything but music related and was more accustomed to that of an artist, as her parents took to taking her out on the hills and pushing her to paint, but once shed got the sound-track to Never-ending Story there was no doubt in her mind that she wanted to get into music. ** The album itself ** Opening with the recent single Other side of the World Tunstall starts the album off with a great song to show the listener exactly what her voice can do without giving them too much to listen to in a first track. The song itself is all about a friend of hers who got involved in long-distance relationship and KTs observations from afar. To be honest the reason I like this song is because I can personally agree with some of the lyrics in it, but even if I couldnt - its a moving track that really sets the pace for the album, and everything else that's about to come. Then we get our first track that has yet to be released: Another Place to Fall, which to me has a mix of Beth Orton and PJ Harvey to it, the opening notes, make you think that youre going to get a dark song, and to a degree it seems like it is, my own interpretation of it is one of a story about someone who hides behind a mask and refuses to let the world see exactly who they are, and constantly failing because of it. The actual music is more upbeat than that of Other side of the World - its a bit faster and the guitars are a bit more prominent, but out of nowhere theres a part that Id have thought wouldnt work, where the emphasis is all on KT singing, but it does, its almost like its a break in the song for the listener to get used to hearing the guitars and before you know it its back to the same music you originally heard and it works as a good album track. Next to come is Under The Weather which is an extremely melodic track that is kept extremely simple for the first part and is the type of song that you could easily find you nodding your head to when you hear it on the radio without even knowing what youre listening to. Then what seems to be a tradition from KT is that of a section where she brings her guitar-play to the fore a lot more and from my eyes it seems as if shes made what could have been an absolutely divine song into one that is simply really good because of it. Then we get to the first single that was released off the album and probably the most pop song on here, Black Horse and the Cherry Tree. This is the kind of song that youll end up either loving or hating, personally I adore it and as with a lot of fans end up singing along to it..... a lot. The actual track has a quick pace to it and even when she stops the guitars you cant help but find yourself sat there singing along and nodding your head - its just that kind of song. As it goes on you find that this is a song that was criminally under-looked in the charts. Next up is Miniature Disasters, a song that has the pace of Black Horse and the Cherry Tree, but doesnt have that same catchiness to it, dont get me wrong its still a good song, just not the best on the album. The actual tale of the song seems to be that of someone whos anxious to succeed at everything they do but theyre just going about it too fast, the lyrics do seem a bit insightful at times, but compared to the rest of the album this isnt the best outing by KT. We then come along the very short track Silent Sea To be honest I love this track just because the musics simplicity is one that gives KTs voice a perfect chance to be shown to the world. At times its almost as if KTs whispering the lyrics to you, and that works fine - no matter how many times Ive heard this song I still cant place any storyline to it and it just seems like its one of those tracks that you should sit back and love. Track 7 is Universe & U, which starts off with a simple drum track in the background and KT singing, and as it goes on its the only time Id say theres anywhere near a Rock-style guitar track, and thats in the chorus, but yet she can quite easily bring it back down again. Out of all tracks I find this one the hardest to write about, it does give a good range of KTs talents but its just the sort of song youve got to listen to. Next one up is False Alarm , again the track is similar to Under the Weather in its opening, it starts quiet but the chorus kicks it up a notch, KTs soft yet slightly husky voice seems to sit perfectly with the writing of this song. Throughout the track there seems to be an up and down in the back-ground music, which for a lot of the time I wouldnt recommend, but this just makes for great music that you can sit back and enjoy. Then we come up to the new single Suddenly I See, once again a jaw-dropping song, with a quick pace, the lyrics are again simplistically evil as are the lyrics to most of the songs on this album, Although theyre easy to sing along to you find you havent a clue what youre singing about. However Id say the tale behind the song is that of someone who out of nowhere has realised what they want to do with their life (much like yours truly - maybe another indication of why I Like the track), and the music is second to none, and well worth the price of the album on its own. Stoppin The Love is an almost self-explanatory track in the title, its naturally about ending a relationship and the ex not wanting to let everything go away. To be honest this track has a very Blues-y feel to it. When I first heard it I hated it, but its a grower - again youll find your foot involuntarily tapping along as KT almost growls the lyrics out over a low bass guitar track in the back-ground, and its found its way into my head and heart as a song. As with many albums I love theres a tear-jerker on the album, and Eye to the Telescope is no exception - this time its Heal Over and Id recommend anyone who ever feels down over anything to listen to this song and not cheer up. I know that sounds a weird thing to say, but its one of those songs that get you crying because it makes you feel happy. I remember hearing this for the first time at the gig I went to and instinctively wanted to wrap my arms around my (female) friend who was with me, it felt a bit weird until I noticed that quite a few people around me were the same as well, if that gives you an idea of what its like then good. The actual story of the song is one of telling a friend that things will get better eventually but until then youre there for them, its moody, melancholy but still seems to have a good outcome to it, hence why Id say it is my favourite on the album. The album ends on Through the Dark which starts off on a very Country Music style Piano, and you can even hear the country influences in KTs voice, as she rasps her way into the opening lines of the song. To be honest, this seems to be a very old-school offering for a solo female artist and again, its a beautiful piece of music that deserves to close the album as it does - leaving you knowing that theres going to be more to come from this lady. The only thing that got to me a bit about the song was that it was a different tack to the rest of the album and almost seemed out of place, but the pure brilliance of it pulls it through. ** Over-all thoughts ** I havent been this excited about an album since I first heard Trouble by Coldplay, and this albums twice as heavenly in its sounds, its a sad day when the Kaiser Chiefs are probably going to walk away with the Mercury Music Prize over something as gorgeous as this and I would recommend to all music-lovers to go out and buy it as soon as possible - its only 9.99 in the shops and even then its only 8.75 online, and its a very worthy investment.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Other Side Of The World
2 Another Place To Fall
3 Under The Weather
4 Black Horse & the Cherry Tree
5 Miniature Disasters
6 Silent Sea
7 Universe & U
8 Suddenly I See
9 Stoppin The Love
10 False Alarm
11 Heal Over
12 Through The Dark