KT Tunstall, “KIN” (Caroline Records)
The last time Hillary Clinton ran for president, one of her campaign songs was KT Tunstall’s pretty “Suddenly I See.” Eight years later, it’s fitting that as Clinton runs again, Tunstall has re-emerged with an excellent new album, “KIN.”
The Scottish singer-songwriter is oozing confidence and musicality on the 11-song CD , something largely missing from her work since her 2004 multiplatinum album, “Eye to the Telescope,” with its funky pop grooves like “Black Horse & the Cherry Tree.”
The new guitar-driven album is peppered with songs about self-empowerment and self-realization. It’s as if a mature Tunstall has emerged from somewhere nasty and is happily blinking in the sunshine. (Maybe relocating to California had something to do with it)
“There was only blank space/Life lived in negative/I couldn’t find my color,” she sings on “Turned a Light On.” On “Maybe It’s a Good Thing,” she confesses: “All this choosing wrong/Is losing ground/Often feeling lost.” One song’s title seems to sum up her journey: “It Took Me So Long to Get Here, But Here I Am.”
“Maybe It’s a Good Thing” is the strong, danceable first single, but the upbeat “KIN” shines throughout, from “Two Way,” a fuzzy guitar duet with James Bay, to the sublime “Love Is an Ocean” and the mournful, mature title track.
Embracing her rock-pop gifts, Tunstall seems at peace — and we’re the beneficiaries. It may have taken her long to get here but “KIN” shows it was worth it. A lost soul has returned.
Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits