Reviews The Tallest Man on Earth The Wild Hunt

The Tallest Man on Earth

The Wild Hunt

Kristian Matsson, aka The Tallest Man on Earth, wants to sound like Bob Dylan. Who doesn’t? Well, I can name a few bands, but I won’t go there. Besides, any comparisons to the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer are a waste of time. The Tallest Man on Earth is his own musician with his own goals, even if it only takes a few seconds of his nasal delivery and peculiar enunciation to recognize his influences.

The Wild Hunt is Matsson’s second release, and the sound is crisp and clear, bringing a well tuned guitar that alternates between calm folk strumming and bluegrass fingerpicking, using a blend of natural imagery and personal reflection in the lyrics illustrates his artistic vision. The acoustic guitar along with his lyricism adds a timeless quality that lacks in most contemporary music. This works so well, in fact, that it’s almost shocking when, on “You’re Going Back,” Matsson drops a frustrated f-bomb. However, he doesn’t wallow in frustration, transitioning back to the soft strums of “The Drying of the Lawns” within seconds of his outburst. It’s a tempered release that speaks volumes about his dedication to crafting a song. The anguish is revisited in “Love is All” later on the record, as Matsson accentuates his delivery in a painful, yet restrained, wail.

He mixes things up on “King of Spain,” where the guitars hint at a rhythmic running of the bulls, and the lyrics offer a dreamworld where Matsson can do as he pleases. The content could easily top the cuteness scales, but his restraint keeps it in check. On the closing “Kids on the Run,” a piano replaces his guitar which gives a quiet and haunting tone with a flair of melodrama that lacks the heart of the rest of the record. On standouts like “Burden of Tomorrow” and “The Drying of the Lawns,” Matsson’s emotional and thoughtful voice drive forward in a philosophical, relaxed tone with impressive melodies that catch the ear without becoming hollow pop or overly emotional cooing.

Folk has come to be associated more with coffee shop open mic night than with its tradition of thoughtful, contemplative art, but The Wild Hunt reminds of the power and intimacy that a few quiet instruments and well-written lyrics can bring, with ten concise songs in just over half an hour, even if there is more than a fair amount of emulating his idols.

7.5 / 10Loren
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7.5 / 10

7.5 / 10

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