KT Tunstall – Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon


kttunstallcdYou will not see this coming. Throw out everything you remember about KT Tunstall and her previous records because none of it applies here. For all intents and purposes, with her latest record, she has completely scrapped her previous discography as if to start afresh and take her career in a new direction. Whether this is simply a one-off or the start of a new musical focus for Tunstall, Invisible Empire/Crescent Moon is one of 2013’s biggest surprises and has the potential to be one of the year’s most talked-about records

Gone are the liveliness and rock ‘n’ roll theatrics, and in their place instead is a musical journey across a barren landscape that favors slow tracks, heavy doses of Americana and Spaghetti Western-style country and subtle, often subdued vocals. The opener, “Invisible Empire,” includes phrases like “I want to jump into the fire/I’ve got to tear them down/The pinnacles of my invisible empire,” and makes you wonder if this is meant to be emblematic of this creative reimagining of herself, while “Yellow Flower” is a soft, romantic piano ballad whose sound and presentation alone will make you wonder if this is really a KT Tunstall record. The country folk strains of “How You Kill Me” are delivered with the confidence of someone who has been doing this for decades, and “Crescent Moon?” Forget about it. This track’s plaintive, absolutely gorgeous piano strains are subtly augmented by orchestration throughout as Tunstall sings about feeling lost and not knowing where her place in the world is.

Artists don’t always like to take gambles because you never know how a fan base is going to respond, but sometimes when an artist is bold enough to do a 180 and turn you on your head, the results are pretty good. Invisible Empire/Crescent Moon has the courage to be a bold sonic departure for Tunstall and it showcases a whole other side to her that we haven’t seen up to this point. Tunstall has, in essence, made the anti-KT Tunstall album with Invisible Empire/Crescent Moon, and it is one hell of a record.


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