I should start by telling you just how enamored I have been recently with the work of Swedish folk singer Kristian Matsson under the moniker The Tallest Man On Earth. His recently released debut album Shallow Grave is a simply stunning record of Dylan-esque folk-based Americana. With a vibrantly shaky voice that is fuller and stronger than it seems at first Matsson’s melodies sound effortless and ever-flowing (like a lot of Dylan’s did). On Shallow Grave the only real accompaniment that Matsson employs is adeptly fingerpicked acoustic guitar and banjo. The naked flaws and earnest human performances of these songs have been captured here with what sounds (at times) like a rudimentary set up complete with hiss and background noise. So while the recording is anything but pristine, I almost couldn’t imagine it any other way.
But for as many Dylan comparisons as The Tallest Man On Earth will undoubtedly get, his music actually manages to overcome many of those comparisons. Shallow Grave is an album that really reveals itself and unwinds more and more with each listen as Matsson’s melodies and skinny poetry bang about inside your head. There is a subtle almost bluesy quality to many songs on Shallow Grave that actually hits my ears sounding like a cross between William Elliott Whitmore and The Felice Brothers (if you are looking for more contemporary comparisons). So yeah, what you’ve got here with Shallow Grave is a mesmerizing and timeless record that is easily one of the best albums of 2008.
MP3 | The Tallest Man On Earth – Pistol Dreams Shallow Grave
MP3 | The Tallest Man On Earth – The Blizzard’s Never Seen The Desert Sands Shallow Grave