Album: The Wild Hunt
Released by Dead Oceans, 2010
While Kristian Matsson may not stand very tall, he has recently become a giant in the folk music scene under his stage moniker The Tallest Man on Earth. He quickly gained recognition for his unique voice, folky compositions and ingenious lyrics after word spread of his first album, Shallow Grave. While the album was released only in Sweden through Swedish record company Gravitation, Matsson’s passionate playing and abilities quickly spread to an American audience.
Kristian Matsson is a native of a Dalarna, Sweden, although many of his musical influences are American. Citing a range of American musicians as his influences, from Bob Dylan to The Velvet Underground to Charlie Patton, Matsson has drawn on these influences to create a unique style of his own. Despite the strong evidence of his influences on his music, particularly Bob Dylan, The Tallest Man on Earth has a style that is also personal and unique to Matsson, as evidenced by the passion and the emotional intensity he brings to his songs.
This passion is highlighted throughout the compositions on The Tallest Man on Earth’s 2010 album The Wild Hunt. The album starts off with the light, melodic strumming of guitar and banjo lines on “The Wild Hunt,” building to the upbeat strumming and clever lyricism of “King of Spain,” and ending on the soft piano ballad “Kids on the Run.” While each song is itself a beautiful composition, the album as a whole is a work of art too. I constantly return to this album again and again, both for the nostalgia I feel for the time I was first carried away by the emotional fervor that Matsson conveys in the album, as well as the new subtleties I pick up on every time I return to The Wild Hunt. If you are looking for an incredible folk album to lift your spirits and get you in that summertime feel, you don’t have to go on a wild hunt to find it.
-Reviewed by Dylan High