After the surprise international success of her 2005 debut, Eye to the Telescope, there were two ways that KT Tunstall could have gone: she could have succumbed to its sleepy, serious undercurrents, bringing herself closer to Dido, or she could have pursued the brighter, poppier inclinations of its singles "Black Horse & the Cherry Tree" and "Suddenly I See." A quick glance at the cover of her 2007 follow-up, Drastic Fantastic, leaves little doubt of which path she chose. The singer/songwriter, who was pictured in a pensive pose on the U.K. cover of her debut and in a stark black-and-white photo on the U.S. release, is decked out in a white dress and high-heeled boots, sporting a giant silver-spangled electric guitar, on the cover of Drastic Fantastic. She clearly has gone pop, but she's done so without sacrificing her subtle skills as a writer, for as splashy as the sound of this album is, it isn't just about sound: it's built on songs that are alternately grabbing and insinuating, songs that are as memorable as the sweetly polished production, and more lasting as well. Drastic Fantastic may be as candied as any good adult pop record should be, but it doesn't stay in one place; it bounces between sparkly, insistent pop, sweet and gentle slow tunes, songs that rework the "Black Horse" rhythm, and tunes that are stripped down to her and a guitar. In a time where singer/songwriters are long on bloodletting emotion but short on musicality, this variety is a relief, as is Tunstall's unabashed embrace of being a mainstream troubadour -- and it's not a sell-out, either, because the songs are strong and beneath that glossy veneer, there is genuine emotion here. These are the elements that make Drastic Fantastic a rare beast: a pop album with a songwriter's heart, and one that works on both levels.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine