KT Tunstall has come along way since the release of her first album, the pop-folk masterpiece "Eye to the Telescope," which eventually peaked at #3 on the UK music charts and jumped to #23 on the Billboard charts the week following Katherine McPhee's performance of "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" on American Idol. Her newest release, "Tiger Suit," is an almost complete 180-degree turn from Tunstall's august beginnings. In fact, she's pretty much kicked over her folksy roots and present tracks that are at times quite high-powered and very much danceable. Tunstall refers to her new material as "nature techno" and that's a label I'm comfortable with. Of course, though it may not do the 4-million business her debut did, it's always interesting to see an artist with the courage to branch out. The first single, “Fade Like a Shadow” is a great dance track about the end of a relationship. To me, it's one of the more catchier songs on "Tiger Suit," but it's far from the only foot tapper. “Uummannaq Song,” which pulses with world music rhythms and backing vocals is another favorite of mine, as is “Glamour Puss,” a track that wouldn’t sound out of place on an Adele Laurie Blue Adkins record. "(Still A) Weirdo," which was the first single released in the UK, has been described as an autobiographical account or the singer's life, according to Tunstall. The track is full of echoed whispering, beautiful acoustic guitar, and the singer's trademark aching, wavering voice. It's great stuff. So, what's the final consensus? I think "Tiger Suit" is a great success. It takes what's made Tunstall so great already and adds to it in new, creative ways that keep it fresh, interesting, and certainly worth the wait. She shows that she is a real rarity in the music industry: a singer/songwriter who, in spite of being situated firmly in the mainstream, is staunchly following her muse. She is able to serve up genuine emotion while avoiding the useless, inane heart-on-sleeve-ness of the majority of her contemporaries. She not only shows her talent here, but focuses it, sharp and laser-like, resulting in her strongest collection of songs yet.
Disclosure: I was provided with Tiger Suit to write a review. I am also entered to win a gift card through One2One Network for participating. I did not receive any other compensation. All opinions are my own.