Published Oct 02, 2018The second in a trilogy of albums surrounding soul, body and mind, KT Tunstall's WAX is a tribute to our visceral, earthly selves — but isn't afraid to play with the ethereal in its quest.
Produced by Franz Ferdinand's Nick McCarthy, the 11-track album delivers a seamless combination of clean, tight pop-rock ("Little Red Thread," "Human Being," "The River"), greasy guitar ("The Healer," "Dark Side of Me") and mindful melancholia ("Poison," "The Night That Bowie Died," "Tiny Love") — and each song is sung with declarative prowess.
The Scottish singer-songwriter is able to trade grace for grit, track-for-track, without making it feel like an à la carte menu. The first half of the album greets its listeners with inspirational, anthemic proclamations, while the latter half touches down and takes them on a slower part of the human journey.
"The Night That Bowie Died" seems to pay indirect homage to its late, great namesake in its sad, simple strumming, reminiscent of "Space Oddity."
WAX is filled to the brim with equal parts sing-along sensibility and raspy vibrato — with a style and sound akin to late '90s Chantal Kreviazuk.
The album's final track, "Tiny Love," leaves the listener hanging on a wire, closing the album out with an eerie, lingering heartbeat — perhaps that of the human the record represents. (Virgin)