Resurfacing in 2016 with 3 years in between studio album releases, Kate Victoria Tunstall proves once again she can turns ears and heads with a blistering new record titled KIN. It’s the sixth studio record from the Scottish folk singer-songwriter, claiming a flowery extravagance and modern twist on her existing acoustic and musically intoxicating persona.
The album rises with a foot tapping number; Hard Girls. Distancing from the eased country-western vibrations of her previous record, Tunstall’s compelling music hunger twists the feelings into a modernist, danceable take on poppy folk music. This feeling carries into the softer melancholic, vibratory measures encapsulated in the next track; Turned A Light On. It does the job of spilling present entrancing virtues, igniting the best volumes of nostalgia in the acoustic-drum relationship. The impressive chord progression motives elevate serious intuitive might – perhaps best relatable in the track Maybe It’s A Good Thing. Echoing wordless vocal cries transpire her building music moods behind the track’s genuine movement, translating the useful footings of folk-messages and pearly instrumentation alike. The overall feeling one could extract from the records first listen is that it bridges a sizeable gap between her previous studio recording. This is far from a bad thing, instead allows Tunstall the freedom to best demonstrate her ability to try on, master and flaunt every musical portion she reaches for. Her vocals are ever so refined and sparkle with a shoulder to shoulder sincerity – manifesting intense catchy heights as well as letting the feinting and delicate restful lengths take equal hold. There’s a little decrease in the flow of the record’s next track, On My Star, perhaps sticking a little closer to the other sounds on the album – though it does evoke a sense of warm and curious attitudes. The faith is restored in Two Way, though, showcasing a featuring effort by James Bay. This neo-duet of thumping lengths ties together well with the atmospheric honesty made specious by a thick, linear drum break. The record’s title track, KIN, holds a beautiful myriad of spine-tingling, true polish. Fastidious guitar tickles carry her vocal efforts as they melt together with the systematic orchestral rubbings. There’s a slight resemblance to Massive Attack’s Teardrop and 6 Underground by the Sneaker Pimps somewhere inside, too, which will never be a bad thing.
In the grander scheme of things, this feels like a naturally occurring album of significant leisure, established reign and more genuine dynamics. Given Tunstall’s vast experience with folk pressings, it’s allowed room for an album like KIN to display a well-balanced connection with her true, poppier potential. To completely enjoy the back and forth folky pop textures on this record feels more like a natural occurrence rather than one sought after and forced upon – making for a highly rewarding and satisfying visit.