"Dark Bird Is Home" The Tallest Man On Earth

The Tallest Man On Earth

Dark Bird Is Home Album Review

Dead Oceans Records

Released May 12, 2015

Genre: Indie Folk, Chamber Folk, Singer-Songwriter, Folk Pop

In my recent memory, The Tallest Man On Earth (Kristian Matsson) was the epitome of everything I loved about folk: captivating melodies, stripped back instrumentation, and rustic production. Matsson’s most notable release The Wild Hunt was a solid snapshot of these merits, interlaced with poetic lyricism filled to the brim with heartache, wanderlust, dreams, and above all, solitude. Matsson’s work feels utterly personal, upfront, and intimate. The Wild Hunt’s greatest attribute was how raw it sounded, as if it was plucked fresh out of the dirt. It’s lyrical themes tapped into the mindset of youth, yearning for a better tomorrow. On Dark Bird Is Home, Matsson lets the instrumental floodgates break open through the album’s ten tracks, pouring his heart into each song.

There are moments where the added instrumentation makes these songs feel refreshed and rejuvenated such as the cinematic journey of “Timothy” or “Sagres” which has a synth melody that sounds like it was pulled right out of Springsteen’s Born In The U.S.A. Described as his most personal record, these tracks take us into Matsson’s head where his musical ideas are tossed back and forth, echoing off the walls dripping with thoughts and memories that he holds quite dear to him. “Beginners” even takes us back to his past albums with a bit of the ‘ol raw emotion to help close out the album.

However, the tracks fail to be as compelling as his past works. What makes this record pale in comparison is how superficial these songs feel. Albums like The Wild Hunt and Shallow Grave feel raw, emotive, and real as if it came out just at the right moment. However, there aren’t any bright moments on Dark Bird Is Home, just tracks that were “real” and altered with reverb and added instrumentation in post-production. Lyrically, Matsson is speaking from the heart, which I admire incredibly. But with the atmospheric production and more than enough instrumentation, there isn’t much to return to on this record other than a story that only Matsson can tell and relate to.

FAV TRACKS: Sagres, Timothy, Beginners


SCORE: (5.5/10)

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