Sound — 8
Without doubt the most distinctive aspect of The Tallest Man On Earth's sound is the unique voice of Kristian Matsson. Well, unique in the way that no one else sounds quite so strikingly similar to Bob Dylan, a comparison Matsson has presumably tired of by now. But what makes Matsson truly special is the nature of his acoustic guitar work; there are several layers of melody overlapping in almost every song on this album, to great effect. His songs have a really busy, freestyle element to them, planting The Tallest Man On Earth head and shoulders above his acoustic peers... Ahem. It would be difficult to pick any stand-out tracks from this album, largely because all but one of the songs take the same form and similar content; vocals and guitar. "King Of Spain" is perhaps the most notable track for its relatively catchy nature and acoustic guitar work that falls just short of the mark of genius. Album closer "Kids On The Run" also stands out as the only one without guitar, as Matsson is accompanied by a piano.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics on "The Wild Hunt" are largely very poetic and open to interpretation, though the likes of "You're Going Back" and "King Of Spain" seem to have more straightforward stories to them. Strangely, this is the first album I really find it difficult to talk about the lyrics, as little attention is actually drawn to them. This is not to discredit them in anyway, but to merely state that the lyrics accent the music perfectly. The way in which the lyrics are delivered is also interesting; whereas other folk-style singers may choose to take a softer approach to vocals, Matsson's style is more befitting of a punk band. He often sings so rawly, so powerfully, he almost shouts, which really successfully captures the listener's attention and keeps the songs from becoming boring or stale.
Overall Impression — 7
It is difficult to fault this album as when listening to it properly, you realise how perfectly constructed every last songs is both musically and lyrically. However, without a proper, fully attentive listen, "The Wild Hunt" can be quite difficult to get into. Matsson is evidently an extremely talented guitarist, singer and lyricist, but maybe due to the fact that 9 of the 10 songs here take the same form, this album doesn't always make for an easy listen; it is very easy to just have it pass you by. Nevertheless, this would make the perfect soundtrack to a calm Summer's day on which you don't really want to pay attention to anything, because when you do zone yourself into this album at any point of any song, odds are you'll find a moment of genius.