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Tallest Man on Earth, The - Shallow Grave Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8
Musicianship 9
Lyrics 9.25
Production 8.25
Creativity 9
Lasting Value 9.75
Reviewer Tilt 9.5
Final Verdict: 90%
Member Ratings
Vocals 333336.25
Musicianship N/A
Lyrics 3.25
Production 2.83
Creativity 3.17
Lasting Value 3.33
Reviewer Tilt 3333333336.58
Average: 5556111142%

Tallest Man on Earth, The - Shallow Grave

Reviewed by: Travis Parno (12/26/08)
The Tallest Man on EarthShallow Grave
Record Label: Gravitation
Release Date: March 5, 2008


There’s a point in the early day, just before the sun breaks open and splashes across the sky, when the world wakes up. The risen dew glitters on millions of bristled blades of grass and birds rustle noiselessly in preparation for a day of flight and song. The entire natural world seems to wipe the sleep from its eyes and in a grand and often unnoticed moment of collective expectancy, fills its mighty lungs with morning. There’s a sort of organic excitement whose palpable traces fill the spaces between trees and fields and hidden places.

Words and works of humans rarely capture the splendor and humble grace of times such as these. They are ours only in observance and respect. Yet somehow a whimsical man from Sweden has walked silently among nature’s secrets and penned her subtle fancies in a suitably concise album of verdant gems. Although he is dubbed The Tallest Man on Earth, on stage, Kristian Matsson seems slight as he preens and pads around his microphone, peering out over the audience and into the darkened rafters. His right hand, somehow separate from the rest of his body, flits and flutters across the strings of his acoustic guitar as his throaty, folksy voice sings stories of coy romances and worldly wanderings that seem to come from the very belly of the Earth.

Shallow Grave grows with every listen, littered as it is with capricious metaphors that glint from every angle. The tunes don’t merely contain stolen fragments of raindrops and wrinkle-soft leaves, but rather, in their simplistic loveliness, they reflect the essence of storms and sunkissed forests, wholly and without deletion. Opening with a tumbling, picked guitar line that nearly trips over itself in its enthusiasm, “I Won’t Be Found” offers equally infectious musings such as, “Well if I ever see the morning/ Just like a lizard in the spring/ I’m gonna run out in the meadow/ To catch the silence when it sings/ I’m gonna force the Serengeti/ To disappear into my eyes.” In tracks such as “The Gardner,” which finds Matsson crowing lyrics such as, “So now we’re dancing through the garden/ And what a garden I have made/ And now that death will grow my jasmine/ I find it soothing, I’m afraid,” the vibrant lives of loving individuals are interwoven with the cyclical biography of nature, producing messages whose roots stretch much deeper than a single guitar and Matsson’s smoky rasp would suggest.

What at first listen is often discarded as unsophisticated imitation (generally due to Matsson’s vocal similarity to a certain trailblazing folk icon) should instead be embraced as a rare treasure. Beautiful and effortless, Shallow Grave is a natural revelation. Each song is a fresh, smiling look at the world. He may not be the largest man on the planet, but Matsson has crafted a masterpiece: he deserves to stand tall and be noticed.

Track List1. I Won’t Be Found
2. Pistol Dreams
3. Honey, Won’t You Let Me In
4. Shallow Grave
5. Where Do My Bluebirds Fly
6. The Gardner
7. The Blizzard’s Never Seen the Desert Sands
8. The Sparrow and the Medicine
9. Into the Stream
10. This Wind

Give it a try if you like…Bob Dylan; Bon Iver’s simple genius

Hear it on the internetzOfficial Myspace | Official Website
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 35
06:15 PM on 12/26/08
#2
Jeremy Aaron
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I'm listening to this now. The vocal delivery is definitely Dylan-esque.

And I must say that your writing has an artistic quality I can only wish my own would embody. Your diction and use of colorful metaphors result in reviews that are amazingly literary without being pretentious or pedantic. Nicely done!
07:08 PM on 12/26/08
#3
Ryzenfall
makin' good time
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Good review. I never got around to listening to this despite being a huge Bon Iver fan and hearing about TTMOE touring with Bon Iver. And i like Dylan a lot.

Looks like I'd do well to check this out.
10:37 PM on 12/26/08
#4
Blake Solomon
Leave a one-way note.
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If you like this, I highly recommend a band called French Quarter. Similar in their usage of understated drama.
07:19 AM on 12/27/08
#5
Travis Parno
my sensible heart
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I'm listening to this now. The vocal delivery is definitely Dylan-esque.

And I must say that your writing has an artistic quality I can only wish my own would embody. Your diction and use of colorful metaphors result in reviews that are amazingly literary without being pretentious or pedantic. Nicely done!
wow, thank you so much, that's such a compliment. i really, really appreciate it!
07:49 AM on 12/27/08
#6
vandalroyale
Down and almost out
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Checking it out
07:55 AM on 12/27/08
#7
yellowhouse
there's a lot of beauty, sometimes
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great review. this is an amazing album, one of my favorites of the year.
08:25 AM on 12/27/08
#8
You Vandal
What she order? Fish filet.
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Puke.
09:17 AM on 12/27/08
#9
Brett3
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Sounds good. Good review.
09:18 AM on 12/27/08
FeynmanWannabe
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One of the year's better albums, although I have to say I enjoyed him a lot more live. The Garden is a great track.
09:23 AM on 12/27/08
jbaseball44
specialist in failure
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One of the years best albums (probably in the top 10-15). Nice review.
10:39 AM on 12/27/08
Here It Goes
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I actually didn't like this album, but this review makes me think I wasn't listening closely enough so I'll try again. Nice work.
11:57 AM on 12/27/08
Travis Parno
my sensible heart
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I actually didn't like this album, but this review makes me think I wasn't listening closely enough so I'll try again. Nice work.
it took me a little while to get into it also; i was initially turned off by matsson's voice (not a dylan fan, personally). but after seeing him in concert, i quickly changed my mind.
02:19 PM on 12/27/08
fuller
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one of the best albums of the year
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