KT Tunstall’s “KIN” is the latest in her work from her past 5 internationally released albums.
Tunstall is a Scottish rocker, originally from St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland but has relocated to California and traveled around the American southwest in the last 3 years.
KT’s past music features similar styles and sound but “KIN” has a distinct folk feel to it. It is still a rock album but it has an infusion of folk and funk, a new sound for KT.
Her career attributes songs like “Suddenly I See” and “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” which have won KT numerous awards and are widely recognized for being featured in popular movies and TV shows.
These songs had more rock elements to them with KT’s unique raspy vocals. “KIN” shows off a new side to KT.
I had the pleasure of going to see KT Tunstall at Summerfest in Milwaukee, WI in July 2016 where she played her big hits but also debuted a lot of “KIN” for the first time in the United States.
Even live, “KIN” has more acoustic instrumentals and softer folk sounds than her traditional Scottish rock.
“KIN” starts off with a bang. “Hard Girls” is energetic and fun with a fast beat and a catchy chorus about people trying to be something they are not.
Next, KT introduces the softer side of her with “Turned A Light On.” This track opens with acoustic guitar and her breathy vocals. Throughout the song, KT has beautiful full chord harmonies for listeners.
The feature of “KIN” is her third track, “Maybe It’s A Good Thing.” This song has a fun vocal line at the beginning and repeats between every verse as well as during the bridge. I remember KT teaching the audience this song at Summerfest and since then it’s been one of my favorites from her.
I especially love the lyrics in this song because it describes exactly how it feels when life is out of control and uncertain. “I can’t see what’s coming and I don’t much care…maybe it’s a good thing.”
Following that, Tunstall placed “Evil Eye” on this album after it was featured on a previous EP. This track is known for its psychedelic guitar riffs and funk sound, representing KT’s indie rock roots.
In the middle of the album, “It Took Me So Long To Get Here, But Here I Am,” KT bears her soul. The lyrics of this song describe where she was in life, both personally and professionally.
Tunstall took a break from her career and moved to the U.S. around 2014.
During this hiatus, KT said she was inspired by the deserts and canyons in California, Arizona, and New Mexico and suddenly began writing “KIN.” It’s very clear that this song reflects that time off on her journey to where she is now.
She slows down with “On My Star,” to change the pace of the album. This lyrical piece talks about not needing anything in life but love and loving someone the way they are.
Another fun song on “KIN,” is “Two Way” featuring singer James Bay.
Bay’s soft voice blends very well with Tunstall and makes this soft rock track a modern day rock love ballad.
In “Run On Home,” KT returns to a faster tempo to backdrop a story about how she’s moved on from a past relationship.
Moving ahead to the title track of the album, “KIN” is Tunstall’s love song. She writes poetic lyrics about being close to someone and the love she feels for them.
Towards the end of the album, poignantly written “Everything Has Its Shape,” unpacks a message of purpose.
KT’s up-tempo song has an easy listening feel as she sings about how life happens the way it does for a reason, and that “usually its exactly what you need.” She is joined by a choir like group of voices on the chorus which gives this song power while the verses have overlaying harmonies to augment KT’s dominant melody.
“KIN” ends with the light sounding “Love Is An Ocean.” This song really captures the mood of the whole album and ends it with this poem of KT talking about her new perspective on life, leaving listeners feeling inspired and happy, much like KT was after writing “KIN.”