KT Tunstall, WAX – Review
by J.E. Barnes
Kate Victoria Tunstall more commonly known by her stage name KT Tunstall, is a Scottish singer-songwriter and musician. Born in Edinburgh to a Hong Kong-born exotic dancer, she was adopted by David and Rosemary Tunstall of St Andrews. At the age of four she started playing piano; later she learned to play other musical instruments which gave her a taste for what was to come. She attended the Lawhead Primary and Madras College in St. Andrews, High School of Dundee and Kent School in Kent, Connecticut in the United States. She earned her BA in Drama and Music in 1996 from the Royal Holloway, University of London. She was awarded an honorary doctorate by Royal Holloway in 2011.
2004 marked her introduction with a live solo performance of her song “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” on Later with Jools Holland. Her vast discography includes: (2004) Eye to the Telescope, (2007) Drastic Fantastic, (2010) Tiger Suit, (2013) Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon, (2016) KIN and now in (2018) WAX.
The album title almost alludes to a wax poetic approach, each tune is uniquely its own soliloquy of sorts. Tunstall is not an artist bound by rules, more over she is an artist who creates them with her wielding creativity and resonating way of reaching the listener. “Little Red Thread,” sets up the journey. A red thread that ties us to one another, similarly that same theme is present throughout the album. “The Mountain” digs into a sensual deeper tone of Tunstall’s voice. Whereas, “The Healer (Redux)” has an 80s Pretenders vibe with a throbbing rock vibe and an intertwining of synth colorizations.
“The Night Bowie Died,” has a Tom Petty implicitness to it, the slow and strumming pattern with large overt electric guitar colorization and solid choruses that ring of confession. Tunstall is convincing bordering on confessional.
WAX takes a look at the many facets that Tunstall offers as an artist. Her honest voice and heartfelt lyrics are what continue to draw fans to her sound. Though WAX traverses many aspects of Tunstall’s breadth, it is the overall journey that gets you one step closer to her truth.