Scottish singer-songwriter KT Tunstall reemerges with a fourth record that takes her back to basics in order to find the essence of her music. This elegant, elegiac disc is filled with emotionally direct, expressive songs confronting loss and mortality. Howe Gelb produces with a light touch to heighten the intimacy of Tunstall’s vocals. The music is spare yet evocative, making for the perfect aural correlative to the introspective lyrics. Tunstall recorded this in two separate sessions after her father’s death and songs like “Old Man Song” and “How You Kill Me” grapple with the grief of letting go and existential questions. These tracks, which reveal themselves slowly, probably won’t appeal to pop fans weaned on gooey sentiments or brain-dead hooks. Their loss. Tunstall has created a deeply personal record and Gelb has helped her make the songs resonate on multiple levels. Throughout, though, it’s Tunstall’s vulnerable yet resolute vocals that impress most. (Out Tuesday)
ESSENTIAL “How You Kill Me”
KT Tunstall performs at the Somerville Theatre Sept. 25.