The Tallest Man on Earth gives us some well-crafted, good ol' folk on The Wild Hunt

It must be tiring for Kristian Matsson, The Tallest Man on Earth, to keep hearing all those brushed-over comparisons to Bob Dylan, but oh well. The similarities are striking. The songs on The Wild Hunt, his latest album, are largely bare-bones folk, not much more than strummed or picked acoustic guitar under Matsson’s unconventional voice. When this formula is followed, of course, not much emotion can be lifted from the music itself, so the burden falls on the shoulder of Matsson’s voice and lyricism.

Vocally, The Wild Hunt excels. Again, Matsson wouldn’t go past the first round of American Idol, but he’s all the better for it. His voice is a bit high and wiry, but shows hints of a rasp, especially on the few occasions he shouts some lyrics words. Those are the raw moments where it becomes painfully clear Matsson is emotionally affected by what he’s saying. There’s not much instrumentation to soften or add to his loud declarations, so the listener is forced to stay still and listen.

It’s a good thing that what he’s saying is interesting, then. Matsson’s imagery isn’t always readily understandable, but it’s often sharp: “Oh once I held a glacier to an open flame / and once I felt like wildcat in the fallen game. / But I will fight this stranger that you should fear /so I won’t be a burden of tomorrow, dear,” he sings on standout “Burden of Tomorrow.”

It’s hard to say if The Wild Hunt has enough to keep the listener coming back — it’s basic and barely layered, so what you hear on first listen is what you get — but there’s something in Matsson’s delivery, whether quiet and contemplative or anguished and loud, that might keep bringing you back. It’s basic folk music, but it’s wonderfully constructed all the same.

The Tallest Man on Earth – “Burden of Tomorrow” [MP3]

The Tallest Man on Earth – “Kids on the Run” [MP3]

Purchase The Wild Hunt

4 comments to The Tallest Man on Earth gives us some well-crafted, good ol’ folk on The Wild Hunt

  • Kev

    “Matsson’s imagery isn’t always readily understandable, but it’s often full of sharp imagery”

    This sentence aside, your review is great. Well measured and fair – The Wild Hunt is a fantastic album. A real gem!

    Jon Reply:

    D’oh. Fixing that ugly sentence now.

    Thank you, though!! It’s definitely a great listen.

  • Kids on the Run is one of favourite tracks of the year already…fantastic album. Can’t wait to see him live next month!

  • Great review, great record.