Words by Steve Melone

Swedish folk artist and singer/songwriter Kristian Matsson (also known as The Tallest Man On Earth) recently released his fourth LP, Dark Bird Is Home.

This album is a darker, more personal look into Matsson’s psyche and persona. It was recorded in several locations, not allowing Matsson to be comfortable in one place for too long. What listeners will hear is an honest and complete catalogue of songs that (for the sake of complete poetic comprehension and perfection) don’t hold back — though the simplicity and honesty in Matsson’s lyrics shouldn’t be difficult to grasp.

The album takes influence from Matsson’s marital issues and personal struggles. He sings, “Suddenly the day gets you down but this is not the end/Still we’re in the light of day with our ghosts within.” The title track changes tempo, shifting from somber, quiet sounds to a faster rock-oriented vibe that hints at hope and promise for what’s ahead. The music and message of “Timothy” echo a turning point for Matsson as he sings, “Why are you so complicated?/Time is the only giver.”

Unlike all of Matsson’s albums preceding Dark Bird Is Home, The Tallest Man On Earth utilizes a full band: horns, backup singers, synthesizers, keyboard and piano. This may be alarming for fans privy to the prominent guitar that is surreal, original and quick in technique/style — but it doesn’t take away from the true heart and message of the album.

“Slow Dance” is a great example of the wide array of instrumentation on the album, utilizing horns, piano and synthesizer on top of guitar. Other songs, like “Little Nowhere Towns,” showcase Matsson, his piano and some backing vocals as he tells a story of young romance: “Carolina, where are we going to be found?/You’re the light of little nowhere towns.”

“Sagres” (an already well known song off the album) is reminiscent of a Mark Knopfler-esque song. Matsson is upfront and honest as he explains his fears: “Was I ever going to be more than these savages in me?/Now what is left in here/It’s just all this f****n’ doubt.”

Other highlights include “Field of Our Home,” “Sagres,” “Darkness of the Dream,” “Timothy,” and “Dark Bird is Home.” The album is out now, so grab a copy and catch The Tallest Man On Earth on tour this summer.

The Tallest Man On Earth
‘Dark Bird Is Home’
Dead Oceans
© May 12th, 2015



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