Monday, October 01, 2007

KT Tunstall Drastic Fantastic

Maroon 5 reappeared back in May after a few years out, with what was overall a disappointing second album, overproduced and crafted to appeal very much more to the pop loving crowd who have This Love as their ringtone. The curse of overproduction on second albums has been a worry for bands over many years, and despite the brilliance of Coldplay’sA Rush of Blood to the Head’, I can understand what people mean when they say to me that it was overproduced.

KT Tustall is unfortunately another name to add to the list of those who have been haunted by a vast layering of instruments glossing themselves across their new repertoire, and her resulting ‘Drastic Fantastic’ really is the paradox it labels itself as. The record does feature some likeable and good songs, however the only problem is that it takes at least three or four listens of the thing before you can scratch away at the polished pop surface to find their merits. Those familiar with her first album will know her for her pop/folk/acoustic guitar/singer songwriter amalgamation which was not only successful but also in fact very good. It was refreshing to see something which hadn’t been tainted with the pop factory magic wand and the rawness of the vocal and guitar combination showed emotion and meaning in what was being sung no matter how lyrically deep. It would seem that overall one track succeeds in re-achieving this and unfortunately ‘Funnyman’ is also the shortest song of the twelve, only to then be followed by the popiest track of them all.

Hold On’ is coincidentally the single accompanying the record, and contains the generic strumming rhythm of Satan which has graced our ears all year with the never ending abyss of ‘indie bands’ who all have the word ‘The’ at the beginning of their name. It seems very much like it’s been written for the sole purpose of being the single and a way of enticing more buyers because it sounds like that other song they like. It just seems disappointing that the song was deemed necessary to include. I don’t wish to get political about the music industry; however to me it really seems that this release focuses much more on creating a mass buying audience thanks to general interference from the record’s producer.

If in search of more of the KT Tunstall you were a great fan of from Eye to the Telescope then I wouldn’t recommend this record. Instead I would point you in the direction of the very low brow release of ‘KT Tunstall’s Acoustic Extravaganza’. Like ‘Drastic Fantastic’ the title of ‘Acoustic Extravaganza’ is in fact an accurate description of its audio contents, and the track list features unreleased B-Sides and selected tracks from Eye to the Telescope performed live with a small acoustic band. It fills in all the missing gaps that are ridden within Drastic Fantastic and overall is a much more satisfactory listen, which doesn’t need multiple listens before you actually begin to enjoy it.

Long live the list of overproduced mediocrity!

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