Music review: KT Tunstall

Seeing KT Tunstall back onstage, in her element, charming a sold out Queens Hall, it was hard to credit that two years ago she almost left pop music for dust. But a certain animal instinct called her back to produce new album KIN and return to touring solo, in the form we first fell in love with her.

KT Tunstall  PIC: Tom Oxley
KT Tunstall PIC: Tom Oxley

KT Tunstall ****

Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh

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Tunstall was wrangling loop pedals to build up her one-woman band when Ed Sheeran was in short trousers. On this outing, she has expanded on that set-up, to incorporate a whole mechanical and digital band of gizmos, including temperamental drum machine Pete the Beat, which she chastised with good humour.

Revelling in the freedom and flexibility of playing solo, she revisited some of her earliest songs, including an ambient electro treatment of Heal Over and a twinkling synth gamelan take on The Other Side of the World.

Tunstall is a consummate entertainer, dovetailing the earthy Hold On into The Bangles’ Walk Like An Egyptian but equally captivating without all the ephemera on Invisible Empire and piano ballad Crescent Moon. Still, if any song benefitted from the loop treatment then it was Black Horse and the Cherry Tree, complete with Seven Nation Army kazoo solo.

KT’s Cover Challenge kept her on her toes – with only a chord chart and lyric sheet, she launched into an unrehearsed, appropriately gritty audience request for Ziggy Stardust. Even better, her bluesy rendition of Soundgarden’s Black Hole Sun, in tribute to the late Chris Cornell, confirmed that Tunstall is a true all-rounder.