Every year some young singer-songwriter is pronounced the new Bob Dylan. They come out with an encouraging debut album and then sort of disappear into obscurity. In 2008, Kristian Matsson released Shallow Grave to much acclaim, a 8.3 Pitchfork review, and those inevitable Dylan comparisons.
Second albums are always difficult. It’s become a clichéd phrase in music criticism, but it’s still apt. There’s a few options, you can do an MGMT and try something different, you can branch out here and there, or else you can do what the Tallest Man on Earth has done and taken the initial blueprint and made it better in every way.
The Wild Hunt is better than Shallow Grave – it’s even decimally 2% better according to some sources. Plus, those Dylan comparisons aren’t going away. It’s unfair to compare the two. It’s apt, but unfair.
The lead single for the album, ‘King of Spain’ was made available as a free mp3 download, and is one of the best songs on here. However, there’s not one dud on what is an excellent album. Matsson performed everything himself, and his vocals have even improved from the full-length debut.
That’s the one thing that may have held him back before. His vocals are croaky which some may find hard to bear, but when the lyrics and melody are so beautiful, how can anyone resist?
At just under 35 minutes, it’s a short album, and never outstays its welcome. It’s a collection of beautiful songs, of which there are many highlights: ‘A Lion’s Heart’, ‘Burden of Tomorrow’, and ‘Troubles Will Be Gone’ to name a few.
Each time you play it, you’ll have a new favourite, and it’s an album that I can’t help coming back to again and again. Gorgeous.