Dark Bird Is Home
I hadn’t been that interested in The Tallest Man Alive (aka Swedish singer/songwriter Kristian Matsson) but Dark Bird Is Home, his fourth full-lengther under this moniker (and there are a couple of EPs too) does have some shining moments. The Dylanesque/Wilburys-like Beginners, the Bill Fay-with-jangle Seventeen, the Elvis Perkins-type feel to Singers – all nice things. Very nice things on repeat listen actually.
Then there’s the old-school Mountain Goats-ish intensity that creeps in on Little Nowhere Towns, though it’s delivered slow and craggy and at the piano; there’s a bit of John Darnielle’s lyrical approach, the confessional, bold and bewildering, about Sagres – and much of the first half of the album in fact.
It’s a deceptively deep album actually. The further into it, the more plays…
Deft fingerpicking, some interesting arranging and instrumentation ideas (Timothy), and then the closing title track. The best of Mike Scott and Nick Drake and Mark Knopfler and so many iconoclastic and individual songwriters all strewn, melting-pot styles, all there.
I’ve clearly underrated this guy in the past – or just spent more time with this album, found something to dig on. Dark Bird is going to keep revealing its secrets over further listens. But it’s worth your time right now – as far as singer/songwriter albums go, the sort that get described so often as “folk” or at least folk-ish, when they are hardly ever any such thing, this is one worth hearing. This is the best of that kind I’ve heard in some time.