Singer-songwriter KT Tunstall released a lavish new single titled “The River” on Thursday. The track will appear on Wax, her sixth LP, which is due out October 5.
“The River” opens in a place of frustration. “I’m holding on to something I don’t want to hold on to,” Tunstall sings. Sometimes a chorus serves as a source of hope, but this one offers little in the way of uplift. “I want to jump into the river, feel it on my skin,” Tunstall sings. “But the river is rocks and I’m already lost.”
Despite these grim sentiments, “The River” is musically reassuring, precise and pretty. Tunstall constructs the track methodically. At first her voice is accompanied only by a repetitive line on a synthesizer; after close to 20 seconds, a ringing electric guitar and an easygoing bassline join the fray. A breathless drum pattern, played largely on a cymbal, and a jangly rhythm guitar come next; the final touch is polished backing vocals, which serve to add a slick, radio-ready veneer.
Tunstall worked on Wax with Nick McCarthy of Franz Ferdinand. In a statement, the singer said she viewed the album as the second in a trilogy that began with 2016’s Kin.