Apologies for the lack of updates, I’ve been hella busy the last couple of days but I return today to the wonderful O&T to spew my virtual love on Swedish one-man folk act The Tallest Man on Earth, beginning what will surely be a long-running series of promoting smaller groups that I like. TTMOE (aka Kristian Matsson) is not, as his name suggests, the world’s biggest man, but rather a wonderful singer/songwriter from Sweden whose debut album Shallow Graves left a big mark on me when I heard it last year.
The first thing most people notice about Matsson (and understandably so) is his voice. It’s high and moderately whiney, and thus draws many a comparison to Bob Dylan’s early vocal stylings. However, far from Bob’s style of simple songs telling grand stories, Matsson’s songs are backed by his own complex finger-pickery and tell tales of ordinary days with a dark backbone (‘The Gardner’ is a song detailing the burial of enemies underneath a flowery lawn).
TTMOE’s guitar-work is really what stands out on many of the tracks, its intricacy allowing for a very full sound, making it seem like more than just one man and a guitar much of the time. His dexterity is mightily impressive, but rather than overwhelming the lyrics, it acts as a very interesting and enjoyable backing to Matsson’s distinctive voice. Songs such as ‘I Won’t Be Found’ (the album’s best in my eyes) and ‘Honey Won’t You Let Me In’ are augmented by Matsson’s delicate guitar-playing, and it allows for great dynamic shifts as well as creating a melodic canvas for his voice to paint upon.
To date, TTMOE has only released one album, but he has gained some notoriety in folk circles of late and perhaps his brilliant sound will elevate him to more than just an interestingly-named footnote on the musical scene. Well worth a look.
Sickest tracks: ‘I Won’t Be Found’, ‘The Gardner’, ‘Into The Stream’, ‘Honey Won’t You Let Me In’.
If you like this, you’ll also like: Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago, Fleet Foxes – Sun Giant EP, Horse Feathers – Words Are Dead.