Another act with a massive critical reputation and a loyal fanbase, The Tallest Man on Earth puts out records every few years brimming with acoustic pop songs. His last release was Top 40 in the US but he’s never had a hit in the UK. His fourth album, Dark Bird Is Home, will retain old fans over there and win new converts over here.
Some fans were turned onto him when his first record came out in 2008, and this new album does nothing to turn them off; the TMOE brand stands strong. Born in Sweden as Kristian Matsson, and using a vocal styling that is only slightly nasal, he tells tales of love and loss with an acoustic guitar in his hands and much more going on around him, like accordions and mandolins.
The ten tracks here recall other men with acoustic guitars, and are similarly interesting. Singers recalls the spidery guitar style of Bright Eyes, and Matsson’s delivery is at its most Dylan-in-1962. Slow Dance and Timothy both have an Irish bent – they could have been songs on the Once soundtrack – and both possess delicious arrangement sweet enough to eat. Opener Fields of our Home ends with muted choral harmonies, and Sagres is also tremendously uplifting and almost spiritual in its magnificence. This is music to run through fields to.
Darkness of the Dream, meanwhile, begins like a classic Fleetwood Mac song with mandolin and piano. Conversely, Little Nowhere Towns is a quick waltz full of melancholy. It all serves to highlight one thing: although TMOE has a huge following, and will play to thousands on an extensive US and European tour this summer, he deserves as big an audience as fellow poppy-rocky-folky men Mumford & Sons. Thanks to his sumptuous fourth album, he should get it.
Dark Bird Is Home by The Tallest Man On Earth can be ordered here.