The Tallest Man On Earth: The Wild Hunt

Comparisons to a young Bob Dylan are inevitable. There’s the same sort of defiance, the odd insouciance, the long lines of poetry squeezed out and hacked out and blown out like kisses, too. The guitar work is very good—scintillating at times and always passionately wrought—but it’s the voice that gets you. The voice—childlike but crotchety as hell, delicate but yearning, beautiful but completely wrong. The voice is what gets you. Kristian Matsson is The Tallest Man On Earth; he plays rock and roll, and plans to be forgotten when he’s gone.

He swears it:

Let’s open up the windows, have Satan departin’ now
And we’ll be even when the blues fall down like hail
Hell, I don’t even care no more about Cadejo now
If he’s a white one or a black one on the trail

I left my heart to the wild hunt a-comin’
I live until the call
And I plan to be forgotten when I’m gone
Yes I’ll be leavin’ in the fall

But he’ll fail. So long as he continues to sing and play songs like these, he’ll be remembered for sure, for sure.

Strange for it to come from a guy who grew up in Sweden, but this is definitely American music: religious country music inspired by the search for something more, a blues, a hillbilly romp, dusty folk music looking out over the horizon, and of course rock and roll. You hear it in every one of these simple, acoustic songs, ten in all, spanning a little over half an hour, but lasting far longer than that. Soon you’ll sing along. Hear these songs once or twice and their melodies hold on to you.

It’s in Matsson’s everyman lyrics and in his gritty delivery, every syllable pronounced to emphasize the urgency of the situation at hand. Listen when he yells, “You said: / Driv-er, / please, / don’t go that / fuck-ing / way!” Hear it, too, in the way he clamps his capo way, way up the neck, strangling his guitar to match the strange cry of his voice, and then again in the strut and strum of songs like “You’re Going Back” and “King of Spain.” Most of all, hear it in the mingling of sadness and joy, hear it in Matsson’s reckless love of life.

Well I walk upon the river like it’s easier than land
Evil’s in my pocket and your strength is in my hand
Your strength is in my hand

And I’ll throw you in the current that I stand upon so still
Love is all, from what I’ve heard, but my heart’s learned to kill
Oh, mine has learned to kill

The Wild Hunt is available today. Listen at Myspace. Buy it from Dead Oceans.

Steelhead's picture

Man, I cannot keep up with the good new music.Your blog definitely has me interested in this new artist.Thanks for writing him up. I think I am going to take a flyer and pick it up.

Rowan's picture

I bloody love The Tallest Man on Earth! I think this new album was released four days ago in here in Melbourne, however I have not as of yet gotten it. Perhaps your influence Stephen will cause me to get it today. I think so. Rockin' blog you've got here by the way Stephen.Also, while I have a good feeling you have heard 'Godspeed You! Black Emperor', as you have demonstrated that your music collection spans wide, if you have not, then do not die before you do. That goes for everyone too. Incredible stuff.

michaelavorgna's picture

Wow. Very nice Stephen. Another to add to the ever-expanding list.

Rob Davies's picture

Yep, fantastic music...BTW, Steven have you heard Aim & Ignite by fun.? I'm sure you'll like it. A lot.

Trey's picture

I was not sure what you meant by American music, then I listened. And you are spot on, it is American music. He is a really good folk guitarist too.

Stephen Mejias's picture

Thanks, everyone. Rowan: Yes, I have heard Godspeed. Very cool.Rob: I haven't heard fun. But I'll check them out. Thanks.