Eye to the Telescope

Eye to the Telescope

4.3 30
by KT Tunstall
     
 

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This Scottish singer-songwriter's debut album -- the culmination of a slow-but-steady progression from the backwater of her rural hometown to the darker corners of post-millennial London -- is nothing short of a revelation. Tunstall herself has said that she doesn't want to be seen as another "girl with a guitar," and while she's perfectly credible when presenting… See more details below

Overview

This Scottish singer-songwriter's debut album -- the culmination of a slow-but-steady progression from the backwater of her rural hometown to the darker corners of post-millennial London -- is nothing short of a revelation. Tunstall herself has said that she doesn't want to be seen as another "girl with a guitar," and while she's perfectly credible when presenting herself as just that (as on the plaintive "Miniature Disasters"), she certainly succeeds in separating herself from the post-Alanis pack. Admirably, Tunstall's incursions aren't unidirectional. The filmy dreamscape "Silent Sea" proves her capable of drifting off into the ether, while the pulsing "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" showcases her flair for raw-nerve blues-rock, which comes across in both her vocal delivery and her stinging guitar work. The latter song, while emotionally naked, incorporates a few intriguing technological tricks -- cleverly deployed loops and grooves -- that bring Eye to the Telescope into the modern world without rooting it firmly in that realm. It's a truly timeless disc that'll sound as intriguing ten years down the line.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Perhaps it's inevitable that K.T. Tunstall's Eye to the Telescope will draw initial comparisons to Dido, since they're both female adult alternative singer/songwriters who bear a certain similarity in their vocal timbres. But as Tunstall's debut starts to unfold, those superficial connections fall away, as she reveals herself to be a soulful vocalist, a restless musician, and a serious songwriter. At times, she may be on the verge of being a little too serious, as her songs are tightly wound and earnest, two qualities that can seem slightly stuffy when her production has a glossy veneer, as it does on opening songs of the album. These cuts, while accomplished and enjoyable, paint Tunstall as a good but ordinary songwriter, halfway between Dido's elegantly sleepy soundscapes and Sheryl Crow's tuneful craft, which is an inaccurate impression, as the album quickly proves. About a third of the way in, the album kicks into gear and Tunstall is revealed as a kindred spirit of such eccentric contemporaries as Fiona Apple and Nelly Furtado. She's more straightforward than either Apple or Furtado, partially due to the album's overly slick production, but also in her sober, uncluttered songwriting, yet her musical instincts, along with her impassioned vocals, edge her out of the mainstream. Slower songs like "False Alarm" aren't sleepy; they have the lazy, jazzy undercurrents of Jeff Buckley and Radiohead, while faster cuts like the single "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" or "Suddenly I See" have an urgency that makes them compelling, despite the shiny production. But that production is the only drawback on Eye to the Telescope -- it certainly sounds good, it certainly sounds professional, but it may keep some listeners at a distance, since it requires that they look hard to find the unique songwriter beneath the glistening surface. And if they spend the time to really hear what's going on in Eye to the Telescope, they'll find a promising, satisfying debut.

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Product Details

Release Date:
02/07/2006
Label:
Virgin Records Us
UPC:
0094635072921
catalogNumber:
50729
Rank:
36919

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Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

KT Tunstall   Primary Artist,Various
David Angell   Violin
John Catchings   Cello
David Davidson   Violin
Steve Osborne   Bass,Guitar,Background Vocals,Moog Synthesizer
Kristin Wilkinson   Viola
Luke Bullen   Percussion,Drums,Cajon
Martin Terefe   Keyboards
Arnulf Lindner   Bass,Guitar (Baritone)
Graham Deas   Background Vocals
Paul Gilbody   Background Vocals
Marty Philip   Background Vocals
George Vjestica   Guitar

Technical Credits

Tommy D   Composer
David Davidson   String Arrangements
Steve Osborne   Producer,Engineer
Dick Beetham   Mastering
Andy Green   Producer
Martin Terefe   Composer,Producer
Bruno Ellingham   Engineer
Simon Banks   Management
Andreas Olsson   drum programming
Jimmy Hogarth   Composer
KT Tunstall   Composer
Rolanda Hill   Executive Producer
Simon Emmel   Cover Photo

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