In 2014 KT Tunstall moved to Los Angeles to pursue opportunities working on movie soundtracks, as well as to work on her fifth studio album. The Golden State EP is the first taste of that forthcoming album and clearly California has had an impact on the Scottish born Tunstall as she has named this EP for the state.
Golden State doesn’t have an especially Californian sound to it, however the singles taken from the EP, Evil Eye and All Or Nothing, do feel formulaic – which critics might say is par for the course for something coming out of America’s pop-culture homeland. Neither of these songs is bad, but neither are they compositions which compel the listener to keep engaging with them. Evil Eye is a well executed blend of acoustic guitar and electro-beats, the combination of which is quite danceable, so the addition of a remix of this track by Django Django to close the EP feels superfluous at best.
Tunstall’s vocals feel a little lacklustre on Evil Eye, and it’s not until she adds a little grit to her delivery on All Or Nothing that you are reminded of her true abilities as a singer. The Healer is the best of Golden States’ four tracks, blending Tunstall’s knack for a catchy tune with a crunchy guitar tone – perfectly counterpointed by a sparkling piano lick – which showcases her soulful, emotive, vocal delivery. Clearly intended to tide fans over until her fifth album is ready for release, Golden State doesn’t offer much for casual listeners or non-fans, and feels too insubstantial to stand on its own.