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The Wild Hunt

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Album Review

In nearly every respect, Swedish troubadour Kristian Matsson's second full-length outing as the Tallest Man on Earth is a direct continuation of the stripped-down roots folk style he introduced on his debut — an album that was deeply, unambiguously steeped in rural American folk tradition but also the product of a strong singular vision and voice. Arguably the most significant difference this time out is the wider stateside distribution that The Wild Hunt will enjoy thanks to its presence on Dead Oceans, and, hopefully, an attendant increase in exposure. It's richly deserved: even if — as may initially seem to be the case — this album offered nothing more than another ten songs cut from Shallow Grave's rough-hewn yet rarefied cloth, it would be considerable cause for celebration; for an ostensible one trick pony, Matsson's got a hell of a trick. But he's more than that: his distinctive gifts as a songwriter are more than equal to his undeniable flair as a musical stylist, and if the uncanny anachronistic effect of his work isn't quite as revelatory the second time around, this set offers the subtler treat of hearing an artist carve out further space for personal nuance and expression within an already well-established approach. Careful listening reveals a newfound looseness and emotional range here, particularly in the vocals, with tender moments like the sweetly sung "Love Is All" and bittersweet relationship dissection "The Drying of the Lawns" balancing the typically visceral, nearly strident delivery of songs like "You're Going Back" and jaunty highlight "King of Spain" (which wryly tips a hat to Matsson's most undeniable forerunner with its reference to "boots of Spanish leather"). Lyrically, too, his writing has grown somewhat more lucid and expressive, with even his characteristically poetic evocations of the natural world connecting on a more human and relatable level than past abstractions (from "Burden of Tomorrow": "I'm just a blind man on the plains/I drink my water when it rains/And live by chance among the lightning strikes"). Still, The Wild Hunt could hardly be called a reinvention. Save for the unexpectedly Springsteen-esque closer, "Kids on the Run," wherein Matsson trades in his trusty six-string for a piano, anything here could have slotted neatly onto Shallow Grave. And that's no trouble at all: when you sound like virtually nobody else out there, it's hard to complain about more of the same. ~ K. Ross Hoffman, Rovi

Customer Reviews

"Bob Dylan meets Neil Young" in the late 00's!

One of the best albums I've bought is from this wonderfull swedish artist. His voice is characteristic, a nice modern mixture of Bob Dylan and Neil Young, with lyrics soulsearching-deep. Allready at the opening track, The Wild Hunt - It was love at first sight!

With tracks like The King of Spain, and Love is All - this album will be one of my top-favorites this autumn.
Be sure to also check out his debut album, Shallow Graves, with wonders like "Where do my bluebird fly?"


Born: 2006 in Sweden

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Playing spare but tuneful indie folk enlivened by his sometimes craggy, always passionate vocals and poetic lyrics, the Tallest Man on Earth is the stage name of Swedish singer and songwriter Kristian Matsson. Born in Dalarna, Sweden in 1983, Matsson first broke into music as a member of the group Montezumas, but in 2006, influenced by rootsy Swedish artists such as Thomas Denver Jonsson and Homesick Hank, he struck out on his own as the Tallest Man on Earth, releasing a self-titled five-song EP...
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The Wild Hunt, The Tallest Man On Earth
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