KT Tunstall

KIN

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KT Tunstall processed loss on 2013's Invisible Empire/Crescent Moon, mourning the death of her father and her marriage, so 2016's KIN functions as a counterpoint to that melancholy: it's a bright celebration of a new start. Tunstall relocated to Southern California and soaked up the sun, throwing herself into positivity with the assistance of producer Tony Hoffer, who previously helmed albums for Beck and Belle and Sebastian. Neither of those acts provide much of a touchstone for KIN, a record whose fleeting moody moments evoke either parts of Tunstall's past or perhaps the inspirational rallying call of Sara Bareilles but is dominated by saturated neon colors reminiscent of Tegan and Sara's new wave makeover. Hoffer pulls off this portion of KIN with aplomb, giving the music space and spectacle; from the moment "Hard Girls" kicks the album off with an insistent retro pulse, the record provides palpable sonic pleasures. Still, what gives KIN its weight is Tunstall's craft. Invisible Empire/Crescent Moon proved that she could turn inward and be gripping, but by turning that aesthetic inside out -- this is an album about embracing the outside world -- she's every bit as compelling.

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