WHERE KT Tunstall was once synonymous with glossy, lightweight acoustic pop, her current Americana set Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon features collaborations with alt-country/lo-fi veteran Howe Gelb and ruminates on human mortality and love’s death.
“I’m going to start at the beginning of something brand new,” she announced before opening with Invisible Empire, and there was no doubting a serious sea-change has occurred of late for the Fife singer-songwriter, both personally and professionally.
By no means has the old KT been swept under the carpet. Re-tooled to work alongside such good new material as Yellow Flower and Feel It All, daytime radio-friendly stuff like Other Side of the World and Suddenly I See were impressively recontextualised. Even Lost, from questionable “Berlin dance album” Tiger Suit, worked well “balladised”. Lest that all sound a bit po-faced, it’s important to note just what naturally funny company Tunstall was – we got off-the-cuff reminisces on topics such as terrifying a “drunk jakey” in Glasgow while dressed as a fairy as a 15-year-old, and a stomping version of Black Horse and the Cherry Tree morphed into a cover of Seven Nation Army on kazoo.
Tunstall’s easy-going, slightly mad badinage and sheer guts were as much a key as anything to her holding the Academy rapt throughout. Who could fail to admire an artist that ends with something like the delicate Chimes, Tunstall clicking her fingers and dancing while harmonising with loops of her own voice, lost in a moment under the spotlight.