The Tallest Man on Earth
The Wild Hunt
8.6 on a 10-Point Scale
I’m sorry for eavesdropping, but did you say you were looking for a Swedish folk artist that sounds sort of like Bob Dylan minus the harmonica, but with more guitar glissandos, and with a Scandanavian name that ends with –sson? Oh… Sorry… I misheard you… Here’s the salt. But in case you were wondering, The Tallest Man on Earth, the stage name for Kristian Matsson, is a great acoustic folk artist that you will be sure to enjoy. He may not sound celestial, but his voice meets the genre perfectly. Musically, his vocal lines are flowing, but at the same time are somewhat predictable. On the poetic end, his lyrics and mystifying and can keep a stoned-out coffee shop crowd scratching their heads (excluding his tracks that are narrative). The guitar music? Finger pickin’ good! There are only so many chords to play, and he works his hardest to change up the chords (contrary to his previous album) and alters both the pitch and rhythm using arpeggios in the guitar lines and different combinations of rhythms. However, despite this attempt at diversity, most of the songs are in a standard 4/4-meter that restricts him. Is this being rough? Don’t a lot of other artists use common time as well? Of course. But it’s much more obvious and stands out more when their isn’t much variation among the instrumentation. In the track Kids on the Run, however, he changes it up and brings in the ol’ piano. Unfortunately though, the effects on the piano force the listener to ask herself whether or not The Tallest Man on Earth realizes that the piano is out of tune. I, now classifying myself as a rough critic, understand that it may be the effect he is going for, but musically it simply creates many minor dissonances that would keep the listener much happier if they were left out.
The mood of the music however is redeeming, some songs invoke joy while others summon malaise. It doesn’t take much for me to laugh and cry (Win a Date with Tad Hamilton [the movie] made me do both), but this album definitely is something you can get lost in.
It makes you laugh. It makes you cry. It makes you tap for your footsies. It makes you question the reality you live in. More importantly, it’ll help you appreciate folk music once again.
Pros: Good lyrics, awesome mood, like his voice, finger pickin’ is well done
Cons: Songs too similar (except for the favorites), minor musical problems on a few of the tracks.
Plus, he’s not even the tallest man on earth… everyone knows Robert Pershing Wadlow, at 8 feet 11.1 inches was. Duh
Favorite Tracks: The Wild Hunt, You’re Going Back, King of Spain, Kids on the Run
-- Alex Podkul
"Nothing but a G-O-D Thang," Tuesdays 2-4 pm on WGTB