The Tallest Man on Earth + S. Carey

27.Sep.2010 - New York

by Thomas Hauner

4 October 2010

The Tallest Man on Earth, though solo, had no problems selling out Webster Hall Monday night or conveying complete control alone onstage.

Wisconsin native, and seminal Bon Iver member, Sean Carey has ventured out on his own, recording a nebulous and harmonic debut as S. CareyAll We Grow is ethereal and crescendos in all the ways one would expect from a Vernon disciple.  Live, S. Carey’s modal layers seemed to probe a little deeper.  An arpeggiating xylophone blended beautifully with saxophone, upright bass, electric guitar and Sean Carey’s keyboard and vocals.  The harmonics of “Mothers” were girded by a pulse that eventually transformed into the bellicose beat of “Action.”  The capacity crowd responded well to their NYC debut, ready to embrace the latest Eau Claire progeny.
Headliner The Tallest Man on Earth has never been short on confidence—or a rockabilly aesthetic.  But a full house seemed to only compliment his excitable yet determined state, bolstering his every mannerism.  Pacing the wide-open stage like a caged big cat, the solo Kristian Matsson showed great command and balance between his tightly plucked but flowing guitar and powerfully scratchy voice.  It’s been compared to Dylan ad nauseum, but Matsson’s is much better: more conviction, more melody, more diction.  Thus already-sounding classics like “Pistol Dreams” and “I Won’t Be Found” weren’t just pretty songs but lucid scenes of vivid imagery.  We’ve been blessed with two Tallest Man records in 2010 (The Wild Hunt and Sometimes the Blues is Just a Passing Bird EP), however only a live performance captures their true dynamism.

S. Carey

The Tallest Man on Earth


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