Record Review: The Tallest Man On Earth “Dark Bird Is Home”


Kristian Matsson is a musician who can hold a theater of thousands in rapt attention with just an acoustic guitar and his voice. So, there’s some uncertainty in hearing that his latest outing skews more band-oriented. Not quite in a “he’s gone electric” way, but more in a worry at the loss of intimacy. Passenger made a band record last year, and that tanked.

Fortunately, the approach of Matsson’s Tallest Man On Earth on the new Dark Bird Is Home is much more restrained and tasteful. The jangling “Darkness Of The Dream” is a boss anthem, but isn’t overly polished. The dreamy “Slow Dance” has harmonica and Springsteen-y hoots and hollers, but there’s a spacious atmosphere about it: reverb, distant horns, a synthesizer undercurrent.

For the Tallest Man of 2012’s There’s No Leaving Now, see achingly beautiful piano number “Little Nowhere Towns.” For the jauntiest and most personal you’ve heard Matsson, listen to the woodwind-laden “Timothy,” which hits some serious Joshua Tree notes.

—John Vettese