Thursday, May 27, 2010

Tallest Man On Earth - The Wild Hunt

The Swedish singer/songwriter Kristian Mattson exploded onto the music scene in 2008 with his debut album “Shallow Grave” under the name of The Tallest Man On Earth. A confrontational, honest and authentic album with ten very original songs. It took me weeks to find out that this wasn’t a man playing on his porch somewhere in the Midwest or Southern parts of the USA but was really a not too tall man from Dalarna, Sweden. Most songwriters will try and sound to be from the US but TTMOE seems to do it effortlessly, making his work feel as authentic as possible.

And here is another ten-song collection called “The Wild Hunt” and he has done the impossible, make a better record than a record that was already a favorite for many. Some people like to say “I don’t see the comparison with Dylan!”. Well, those people need to listen to some more Dylan records and stop trying to be interesting because they are not. Acoustic guitar, similar playing and picking, a shaky voice, lyrics that are like poetry? Need I say more. Just listen to the beautiful “Drying of the Leaves” where he sounds like 60’s Dylan singing a 90’s Dylan song. And sounding like Dylan at his best is nothing to be ashamed of, because there is never one moment of “Eve of Destruction” type mimicking.

TTMOE is most of all his own self. Just listen to Mattson talk and you will hear some comparisons between his talking and singing. His voice is rough but honest and full of unforced emotion. If the scream in ‘King of Spain’ doesn’t get to you, go see a doctor. His singing has definitely gotten better since “Shallow Grave” and here he sounds like he is doing a show just for you in your own living room. It is just as overpowering. There are some background sounds, some crackling and his voice is not always 100% but that’s exactly what the music needs. Even the sometimes misfretted chords sound great.

We’re almost halfway through the year and this man from Sweden has made an album that far surpasses his earlier album. I can’t think of any albums released this year that have reached the overall quality of “The Wild Hunt”. Of the ten tracks just under 35 minutes there is not one not worth listening to on multiple occasions. An almost mystical experience.

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