As an album written post-break up, don’t expect mopey songs of longing and desperation from Kristian Matsson, AKA The Tallest Man On Earth. Oh no, you can expect Dark BIrd Is Home to be a beautifully honest album with lyrics to rival most that’s refreshingly upbeat.
After reading the album was written after the break up from his wife, I didn’t quite know what to anticipate. However the 10 tracks Matsson has given us, though the inspiration is blatantly obvious, are actually incredibly cheery. Tracks like "Darkness Of The Dream," "Slow Dance" and the Smiths-y "Sagres" are all great folksy tunes you can’t help but tap your feet to, in spite of the dreary titles and lyrics.
“And this sadness, I suppose is going to hold me to the ground where I’m forced to find the still in a place where you won’t be around.”
Lyrics like that don’t really fill you with a great deal of hope for finding a bouncy melody and foot-tapping rhythm. But The Tallest Man On Earth proves us wrong. You can’t deny the pain and sheer honesty that has gone into this album but his ability to turn that into something happy and even at times uplifting is absolutely unreal.
When you move to the more melancholy and stripped back tracks, that’s where Matsson really shines.The effortless "Singers," a mash between Ben Howard and The Gaslight Anthem, somehow manages to capture a ridiculously refined sound despite its feel of disarray. The raw "Little Nowhere Towns" is another. Its innocence and soft piano melody compliment his voice on this track moreso than any other. The title track has to be the focal point here though. The simple voice and guitar combo of "Dark Bird Is Home" allows you to focus solely on the words. It’s simply breathtaking.
It’s been a while since I've heard an album quite like this one. I can’t remember the last time I listened to something so sad and so happy all at the same time. With Dark Bird Is Home, The Tallest Man On Earth has given one of the most raw yet catchy albums of the year.