Review: The Tallest Man On Earth Makes a Bow On Henry Street

The Tallest Man On Earth/Henry St./Anti-
Four out of Five Stars

Videos by American Songwriter

Although he records under the aegis of The Tallest Man on Earth, Sweden’s Kristian Matsson has rarely made an album with an actual band in tow. The mood falls mostly in-between the sounds of his last two outings, 2015’s Dark Bird Is Home — a very personal record that was also stunningly surreal — and 2019’s I Love You, It’s a Fever Dream, which Matsson himself described as his most playful project thus far.  

In that regard, Henry St. echoes more than a hint of calm, contentment and a sublime sense of satisfaction. With contributions from producer Nick Sanborn of Sylvan Esso fame, Ryan Gustafson on guitar, lap steel, and ukulele, drummer TJ Maiani, CJ Camerieri from Bon Iver on trumpet and French horn, keyboardist Phil Cook, Bon Iver’s Rob Moose arranging the strings and Adam Schatzonsax, the album boasts a fuller sound, yet one that’s certainly can’t be said to be overt or overpowering. To the contrary, the arrangements allow Matsson plenty of space to share his mellower musings, without having to worry that his melodies will simply fade into the ether. To that end, a couple of tracks, “Bless You” and “Looking For Love,” culminate in a cacophony of sound, and yet, in so doing, they don’t impact the proceedings. 

To the contrary, both those aforementioned songs come across as wistful and reflective, a general disposition that impacts the album overall. “Slowly Rivers Turn” exude the feeling of a quiet caress, while “Goodbye,” “New Religion” and the title track itself share a similar ease and assurance. In that regard, the new album offers a singular statement, one that exudes contemplation and assurance, both in equal measure. 

While it’s not necessarily the kind of record that’s going to grab immediate attention, it does retain an amiable accessibility all its own. In that regard, listeners might just find that The Tallest Man On Earth makes music that’s all within an easy reach.

Photo by Stephan Vanfleteren / Pitch Perfect PR

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