CD Review of Drastic Fantastic by KT Tunstall
Recommended if you like
Amy Winehouse, Stevie Nicks,
The Pretenders
Label
Virgin
KT Tunstall: Drastic Fantastic

Reviewed by Mike Farley

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I
t took Scottish singer/songwriter KT Tunstall exactly one major-label release to realize that becoming an overnight sensation is a dream you can, um, realize. At least if you’re as talented as she is, achieving that dream is just a matter of the right people hearing you. Tunstall’s Eye to the Telescope spawned three singles that became ubiquitous on film and TV; “American Idol” finalist Katherine McPhee even did a cover of the Grammy-nominated “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree,” adding more fuel to the KT bandwagon’s tank.

So how does she follow it up? With a new effort, Drastic Fantastic, that is every bit as good, if not better than, her powerful debut, that’s how. It certainly has more flair, which might be hard to believe if you’ve followed this emotive artist. Tunstall just manages to weave different sound textures and beats into her music, but all the while maintaining a keen sense of melody that allows her to be measured up to any great pop artist in recent memory.

Tunstall also separates herself from her peers by managing to combine roots, blues, pop and rock in an instantly recognizable way. After the opening track on Drastic Fantastic, “Little Favours,” which is straight acoustic rock that might remind you of Chrissie Hynde at her coolest, you’ve got some melodic gems like “If Only” and “Saving My Face.” But she doesn’t stop there. “Hold On” has the same backbeat as “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree,” but is even more bombastic, to the point where if you turn it up loud enough, it just might bounce you out of your chair. Tunstall also shows her roots as a singer/songwriter with the acoustic beauty of “Someday Soon” and “Paper Aeroplane.”

If you like good pop music, you’ll want to put this one in your pipe and smoke it, today. Even fans of alt-pop goddesses Amy Winehouse and Lily Allen will secretly be listening to Drastic Fantastic, for fear that someone else too cool for themselves might catch them enjoying some mainstream awesomeness.

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