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KT Tunstall

Eye to the Telescope (Virgin)

Reviewed by Melanie Haupt, Fri., Sept. 15, 2006

ACL Music Fest Reviews

KT Tunstall

Eye to the Telescope (Virgin)

KT Tunstall is in trouble from the outset on her 2004 debut, Eye to the Telescope, released Stateside just this year. The Scottish singer-songwriter, who put both Norah Jones and Dido on notice across the pond, opens with "Other Side of the World," which is appropriately wistful but riddled with clichés ("She's an iceberg ... she's cold inside"). It's the commencement of a pleasantly earthy, listenable debut but one that reeks of corporate meddling. The album's kicker, "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree," is the tune everyone's already heard and is most clearly engineered to be the single. From the "woo-hoo" hook to Tunstall's throaty-chic delivery, this "Black Horse" is far too glossy. Tunstall describes her music as "kitchen table songs," culled from intimate conversations and relationships, yet the whole exercise feels like Tunstall and her producers were working from a checklist. Couple of ballads ("Universe & U" and "False Alarm")? Check. One major single, one minor? Check. One wonders if Eye to the Telescope would have the emotional resonance suggested by invoking the warmth of the hearth if it were a rugged indie rather than dripping coolly as it does with corporate money. (Sunday, 2:30pm, AT&T stage)

**.5

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