Review Summary: Is it honest like a fallen log to dream of things like a little river to the golden ground?
2010 has proven to be a benchmark year for The Tallest Man On Earth. With the releasing of his second LP, “The Wild Hunt,” Swedish folk singer Kristian Matsson delivered arguably an album of the year candidate and further established his presence as an artist in folk music. With the release of a new EP “Sometimes the Blues is Just a Passing Bird,” Matsson has provided fans with two excellent additions to his small catalog in just one year. “Sometimes the Blues is Just a Passing Bird” is a much softer, compilation of songs compared to the uplifting tone of “The Wild Hunt.” Fans of The Tallest Man On Earth will not find the same moments of exuberance throughout this EP, like they heard in songs such as the joy-inspiring “King Of Spain” on his second LP. Instead, they will be hearing a darker side of the folk-favorite. However, all of the elements of Matsson’s music are still there: his Dylan-esque, vulnerable voice and delivery, his crafty, often complex guitar work, and beautiful lyrics.
“Little River” immediately evokes a sense of melancholy from The Tallest Man On Earth. While the tone of his acoustic guitar may sound light, Matsson’s lyrics border along the lines of depressing, with lines expressing defeat, such as “You stumble out into the pitch-black hallway/you think you’ve lost so many times though it’s not war yet” and anguish: “You just sing about your own death in your closet.” “Like The Wheel” also evokes similar sadness and vulnerability previously unseen on the “The Wild Hunt.” Matsson’s lyrics are more direct throughout this track, especially in the chorus when he questions his own character: “Oh my lord, why am I not strong"”
The greatest element of “Sometimes the Blue is Just a Passing Bird” is Matsson’s willingness to experiment on EP, even if it means venturing into new territory. For the first time in his career, The Tallest Man on Earth introduces the electric guitar to his musical arsenal and exploits it in the phenomenal “The Dreamer.” Though Matsson does not show off his typical fast finger-picking style in this song, he delivers one of his most stirring vocal performances, especially when he strains his voice in the final line of the chorus, “How you’re the light over me!” “The Dreamer” displays signs of a potential new direction for Matsson, who may decide to incorporate more electric recordings into his body of work.
With this latest addition to his expanding catalog, The Tallest Man On Earth has further catapulted himself to the top of the folk-music world. His experimentation with the electric guitar on this short EP demonstrates that he may have several tricks up his sleeve for his next full-length album. “Sometimes The Blues Is Just A Passing Bird,” although much quieter and not as uplifting as its predecessor, further displays how one man can affect the masses with only a guitar and a distinct voice.