The Tallest Man on Earth – There's No Leaving Now Review
It’s hard to not feel charmed by The Tallest Man on Earth, the pseudonym of Swedish singer-songwriter Kristian Matsson. Combining folk sensibilities with a penchant for intriguing imagery and rhythmic hooks, his third album is consistently engaging without grovelling for attention or affection.
There’s No Leaving Now opens with “To Just Grow Away”, a track about being steadfast in your positivity. Matsson’s coarse vocals bring an earthy life to his sweet, floating melodies, and keys in the background add a sense of depth to the song without detracting from Matsson and his guitar – which remain, rightly so, at the centre of the album for most of its duration. It is a testament to his compositional skills that additional instrumentation never feels overpowering or dominating. They remain as complements to his voice and intricate guitar playing, both of which never become saccharine or drift into monotony.
“Revelation Blues” is particularly beautiful, with Matsson’s lyrical timing coming to the forefront and stealing the show. Highlight “1904” comes in two tracks later, and again the rhythmic qualities of the song shine through. Emphasis is placed on all of the right beats, and it makes you want to dance. Matsson’s voice has this wonderful, emotive strain to it, and he brings it out in the most delicate of moments. It’s never forced, and it makes the album that much more alluring.
The title track is a turning point for the album, trading guitar for piano and taking everything back a notch. It provides a counterpoint, and without the sonic respite it provides, the album as a whole would feel unbalanced. “On Every Page” closes the album, and draws attention to Matsson’s ability to play with the ups and downs in his songs – a quality particularly evident in his live performances. Little nooks of silence open themselves up, and suddenly everything feels much less secure and confident. There’s a sense of vulnerability, but with that comes a sense of dramatic honesty in equal measure.
No Leaving Now will immerse you in shades of light and dark, delicately crafted melodies, and moments of blissful abandon. Forgetting the rest of the world is easy as it plays, and the fact that Matsson can so naturally command attention tells you just how good his songwriting really is.