Available only via download and the merchandise stall of her imminent US tour, The Scarlet Tulip finds K T Tunstall taking a step back from the modernist rapprochements of last year's Tiger Suit, abandoning even her familiar chunky rhythm-guitar loops for seven delicately fingerpicked folk songs featuring just her voice and acoustic guitar.
There's a reflective calm to her work on the title-track and "Hidden Heart", the latter written for Bruce Parry's Amazonian land-protection project: "Down, down, cut me down, so I can lie on familiar ground". The brief, waltzing love-song "The Punk" and "Patience" offer more intimate revelations: "My heart knows just what it wants from me/ It's not a democracy in my soul". It's all rounded off with the a cappella "Shanty of the Whale", a flinty piece sung from the viewpoint of the dismembered beast.
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