Secret Meeting score: 80
by Philip Moss
On his first full length project in four years, Swedish singer/songwriter, Kristian Matsson, has returned with his fifth full album under The Tallest Man on Earth guise, I Love You. It’s A Fever Dream.
Since 2015’s ‘divorce’ record, Dark Bird Is Home, Matsson has drip fed fans with single tracks – but nothing about Fever Dream feels like it’s been cobbled together. Instead, as is the case on Hotel Bar, it’s a wide eyed reflection on life and the simple moments that make it: ‘A tug of lonely in your heart / That little beast that keeps it ripped apart / Will there be people in the bar? I wonder / The end of night, I hum alone.’ It must be noted that Matsson’s voice sounds better than ever too – gone is the raggedy Dylan-esque nasality and, over a plucked acoustic distant harmonica, the opener finds Matsson channelling Villagers’ Conor O’ Brien on a track that has more than a passing resemblance to U2’s One.
The album is by no means an immediate one, however, it does have its moments: The Running Styles of New York is one of the most embellished and overt pieces of pop in his back catalogue – its looping piano and carefully crafted melodies match perfectly with the continued search for beauty in the mundanities. There’s A Girl and What I’ve Been Kicking Around aren’t as sonically stretching, but are no less charming. While lead single, I’m A Stranger Now, shuffles with such gusto and vivacity that you cannot help but get caught up.
Despite the huge critical acclaim that has come Matsson’s way over the eleven years since his breakthrough debut, and the 150 million Spotify plays his previous releases have racked up… whisper it… this is his best and most addictive collection yet! I Love You. It’s A Fever Dream is a triumph.