Dark Bird Is Home by the Tallest Man on Earth
The man at #26 is the first artist on this year’s Top 31 to have been here before. Quite a few bands have been on the countdown twice, but very few artists have made the Top 31 three times. Dalarna, Sweden native Kristian Matsson, otherwise known as The Tallest Man on Earth, has done exactly that. The Wild Hunt was #25 in 2010, and There’s No Leaving Now came in at #18 in 2012.
Dark Bird is Home, his fourth album (and third for the great record label Dead Oceans), is a departure for him, in that he didn’t do it all himself. In the past, Matsson has played all the instruments and engineered his own recorded work. But this time around he brought in a full band to back him up, and an engineer to properly record them all. In this KEXP performance earlier this year, Matsson called this album “louder” but I think “fuller” is a more apt description. There’s just more of everything that I love about the Tallest Man on Earth.
None of Matsson’s albums have been uplifting affairs, but this album in particular is quite rough, once you start listening to the lyrics. This was written at a time when Matsson was divorcing from his wife, singer-songwriter Amanda Bergman, also known as Idiot Wind. I’m not the type of person to concentrate on lyrics, so the fact that this album is about such a sad topic didn’t register with me until I read about it earlier this week. The music itself is quite uplifting, and that’s what I loved about it. Now knowing the lyrics are so deeply personal, I love it even more. What do you think?