Scottish artist combines genres of alternative indie-pop and concentrated rock
Scottish singer-songwriter, KT Tunstall recently released her sixth studio album, WAX. Driven by the success and fame of her two most popular songs, “Black Horse & The Cherry Tree” and “Suddenly I See”, Tunstall continues to express an edgy, while sweet, alternative rock & roll style with this new 11 track album. Co-produced and co-written with Franz Ferdinand’s Nick McCarthy, WAX, incorporates synth production, electric guitar, keyboard, flute, and stomping-like drum arrangements, while her hook-heavy melody and lyrics prevail as the tracks central essence.
The album kicks off with the song, “Little Red Thread.” With its reverb electric guitar and synth, this song mirrors the energy from her most well-known songs as it creates an upbeat stomping, rock & roll vibe. This track expresses the notion that all of humanity is one and the same. She sings, “You are a friend/ but even enemies/ have a connection to the tapestry that’s hanging in us.” In the chorus, Tunstall conveys our inherent connection to one another as she sings, “Find out that we’re all/ just made of a little red thread.”
“Dark Side of Me” is a track more unique, standing out from the rest in Wax. From the start, the track begins with an alternative, folk sounding electric guitar, paired with drums, and as Tunstall begins to sing the verse, the backtrack softens until it picks back up again during the chorus and hook. Lyrically, this track seems to express the coming of terms within a relationship that wasn’t working out. Tunstall sings, “Even though I knew I could/ learn to adore you/ with me like a shadow/ but I always had to hide it away/ but then I let it grow/ too big for the cage.” There is also a notion of a female expressing the negative consequences that could potentially come as a result of being in a relationship with her. She sings, “I always tried to warn you there are casualties/ ’cause I still got a dark side of me/ I still got a dark side of me.”
Another more unique track is, “Backlash & Vinegar.” This song has a longer intro of constant down strum of an electric guitar, which then compliments Tunstall’s ethereal, airy voice. An acoustic guitar is added in the middle of the first verse, and drums and synth begin to shine in the pre-chorus. This track conveys a message of someone being told they aren’t good enough, or that they lack something relatively important; which expresses the emotions of hurt and heartbreak. Tunstall sings, “So take it back/ that I’m lacking anything/ saying it might make it easier/ but it’s backlash and vinegar.”
Tunstall’s songwriting and narrative telling shine through in this album. There are common themes of detachment and loneliness, which somehow compliments the nature of Tunstall’s style. She smoothly transitions from genres of alternative singer-songwriter, pop and rich, concentrated rock, making this record ‘easy listening.’