Review Summary: The Tallest Man on Earth continues to astound, whether he’s building hope or breaking hearts.
Back in 2010, a man heralded as folk’s messiah dropped his second proper album while people all over the world stood in awe. The Wild Hunt
was Kristian Matsson’s true breakthrough, an album that allowed the Swedish artist to spread his wings and let the world finally see him for who he was: one of this generation’s most genuine voices. Despite the plethora of Bob Dylan comparisons, Matsson, known widely as The Tallest Man on Earth, has discovered within himself something that makes him stand shoulders above his peers. While The Wild Hunt
was indeed an exceptional record in its own right, it lacked the painfully authentic and personal feeling of his latest, There’s No Leaving Now
. With his third record, Matsson has refined his tried and true sound, whilst imbuing it with an emotive and immiscible feeling rarely seen in music today.
To be honest, There’s No Leaving Now
sounds much like Matsson’s previous records, strikingly so even. The same strained, crooning vocals soar over deceptively simple acoustic guitar parts, all wrapped together nicely thanks to some brilliant songwriting. However, here Matsson has pulled out all the stops as There’s No Leaving Now
features some of his greatest work. He has improved both as an instrumentalist and a songwriter, with the record feeling much fuller and more realized than anything else he has done before. Subtle changes to his music’s complexity makes for some astounding moments, such as in “Leading Me Now.” Meanwhile, the gut-wrenching title track impresses with its beautiful and impassioned delivery, despite being a much more straight-forward acoustic piece.
But what makes The Tallest Man on Earth’s third record truly shine is the aforementioned genuine feeling that absolutely permeates every bit from start to finish. It is rare to hear an artist bare his soul in such a way that it feels authentic, but Matsson does it beautifully. Because of this, the album’s most subdued songs stun just as much if not more than its bolder and grander moments. “Revelations Blues” and “There’s No Leaving Now” are achingly personal, as everything from the lyrics to the vocals shift to fit the mood. It is within these nuanced moments that the listener becomes aware of the true breadth of Matsson’s musical genius.
There’s No Leaving Now
is a defining moment in a career that has been nothing but exemplary. The Tallest Man on Earth continues to astound, whether he’s building hope or breaking hearts, making for one of this year’s most exceptional records.