KT Tunstall’s second single, ”Suddenly I See,” was everywhere last year. But in my mind, the track is forever linked to the opening credits of The Devil Wears Prada. The rousing girl-power anthem energized those scenes of dowdy Anne Hathaway crashing the rat race to go toe-to-pointy-toe with Gotham fashionistas. Conversely, the drab material on Drastic Fantastic, Tunstall’s poorly named follow-up to her multiplatinum Eye to the Telescope, could use some flashy Hollywood visuals to bolster its storytelling.
It’s not that the Grammy-nominated Scottish singer-songwriter doesn’t strive for drama. Most of the CD’s 11 songs suggest conflict, from the love-gone-sour midtempo rock-out ”I Don’t Want You Now” to the self-esteem-in-shards midtempo rock-out ”Saving My Face.” Prettier and thankfully less rockin’, ”Someday Soon” even creates palpable tension between its delicate melody and marching-band rhythm.
But ultimately, Drastic Fantastic‘s airy guitar pop — not to mention Tunstall’s muted rasp — feels more technically proficient than passionate. Especially dreary, ”White Bird” and the ballad ”Beauty of Uncertainty” are enigmatic without being intriguing. And while ”Hold On” tries to approximate the propulsive energy of ”Suddenly I See,” it’s hardly memorable enough to be the album’s first single, much less accompany a plucky cinematic heroine dashing boldly into the future. C+