Review Summary: A consistent effort featuring: prime song-writing, creative finesse, and a consistent pace.
Shallow grave was an album released by The Tallest Man on Earth in 2008 under the record label Gravitation. It features acoustic guitar and vocals by Kristian Matsson. Although this may seem underwhelming and uneventful from afar, Kristian's prowess and character coupled with the stark consistency in song writing remain absorbing throughout most of the album with little halts. The Tallest Man on Earth sticks with his tried and true lo-fi folk recording style and surprisingly the music community isn't bored yet. Something about the alluring and airy vocals blended with ascending guitar licks just reels the listener into Kristian's idyll sonic portraits.
Songs range from 2 - 3 minutes, but manage to progress in the short amount of time. Most songs feature harmonic vocals and loose strumming with the occasional bluesy licks and hot-blooded rupture of emotion gushing from Kristian's voice. Melodies such as "Where Do My Bluebirds Fly" can stick in your head for days. The Tallest Man obviously has a cultivated technique but conceals it underneath open tunings and narrow chord progressions.
Performances can fluctuate from dormant to playful to oddly lascivious (lol) in minutes. There are some standout moments like in the "Gardener" when Kristian bursts with a stream of passion from the tension he builds throughout the track, but also a good deal of the laid back fingerpicking tracks are noteworthy.
The songs seem like little snips of a picture book. Each a distant picture cut from a page of a traveler's diary. What surprises me though is the lack of filler. I mean there are standout tracks, but after a couple listens, almost every song is charming in some way.
After a while though it all sounds like the same mush, so I think Shallow Grave works best in segments, but hey that's me. Nothing groundbreaking or totally different is taking place here. Kristian is taking the safe route on this LP.
The lyrics are mysterious yet beautiful. For example the lyrics on "I Won't Be Found" are embedded with a cryptic yet glassy melancholy, that grasps the listener's attention for the entire track. Kind of like NMH to me (lol)
Overall a consistent effort featuring: prime song-writing, creative finesse, and a consistent pace.