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The Tallest Man On Earth: Larger Than Life

"Less is more" may be a cliche, but that doesn't mean musicians often heed that advice. Swedish singer-songwriter Kristian Matsson, who performs and records as The Tallest Man on Earth, follows it religiously. The guy knows when he has a song, and he doesn't try to dress up music that stands alone. That would explain the skeletal structure of "Burden of Tomorrow," but the song's raw emotion makes additional ornamentation unnecessary; aside from a bit of spectrally faint keyboard in the background, he's the show.

Still, Matsson's vocal delivery is anything but understated. Affectionately worn like a dog-eared book, his voice has a gravelly quality to it. In "Burden of Tomorrow," it helps paint a picture of a mysterious figure whose origin story sounds like that of a superhero. His actions are just and his identity stays sealed, but there's no need for a revelation when Matsson's words stand out so poetically over the music: "But, hell, I'm just a blind man on the plains / I drink my water when it rains / and live by chance among the lightning strikes." In terms of sound, it's nothing huge, but when it comes to passion, The Tallest Man on Earth can be spotted from miles away.

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Anthony Fantano