The Tallest Man on Earth is Kristian Matsson, a Swedish folk singer with a voice that falls somewhere between Shannon Hoon (Blind Melon), Josh Ostrander (Eastern Conference Champions), and Bob Dylan. If that sounds like it has the potential to be grating, you’re right. But if you’re familiar with those artists, you also know that it works, and works well. “The Wild Hunt” is the man’s second record, and it’s just about as close to perfect as you can find in modern acoustic-based folk rock.
This is his first album on the independent Dead Oceans label, and it is exactly what you would expect and hope for from this artist: Powerful lyrics that fit neatly with tightly crafted guitar-based melodies that can be simple (“Burden of Tomorrow”) or as intricate and beautiful as anything off of Dylan’s best record, “Blood on the Tracks” (“Troubles Will be Gone”). The only criticism I have of this record is that it gets a little same-y after a while–it is ten songs done in a very similar manner. I’m hoping that for his next release, Matsson will step a little further out of his safety zone. Until then, though, this album is a wonderful experience.