The Tallest Man on Earth
There's No Leaving Now


4.0
excellent

Review

by Nick Butler EMERITUS
June 25th, 2012 | 157 replies | 28,884 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: His consistency is becoming a little frightening.

I'm starting to get a little bit worried about my relationship with Kristian Matsson's music. It reminds me of being 14 and hearing Amnesiac for the first time, and getting that sinking feeling when you realize that a previously impervious artist, one that you thought were incapable of doing anything bad, had it in them to be mediocre.

It's stupid to ever believe that somebody can't possibly write a bad song, obviously, but Matsson makes it really, really hard not to fall into that trap - across three albums and two EPs, not only is he yet to write a bad song, he hasn't even done anything to hint that there's any badness in there, any chink in his armour. His track record is literally impeccable. I'm not really sure how I'll react when he finally does record that elusive average song. I'm also not really sure it'll ever happen.

It's not even just about the songs, though, magnificent as they generally are. Truth is, even brilliant songcraft alone gets boring without any focus on the sound behind it; the references to Bob Dylan are starting to get tiring in The Tallest Man on Earth reviews, but he's a great case in point here, because there's no way he'd enjoy the legacy he does now if he hadn't moved away from folk into the areas of Highway 61 Revisited, Nashville Skyline, Blood on the Tracks, and eventually Time Out of Mind. Ditto Bruce Springsteen, who moved through Born to Run, Born in the USA, and Nebraska, among others. Matsson is yet to make a switch as dramatic as any of that, but he has nailed a sweet spot between giving your fans what they want and introducing them to new things more impressively than just about anybody currently making music. It's all in the subtlety and the grace with which new influences are introduced - "There's No Leaving Now" carries a slight air of Coldplay's Parachutes about it, "1904" uses a lead guitar tone that threatens to break out into The Cure's "Close To Me", and "Leading Me Now" has some fingerpicking that sounds a lot like the kind of patterns Lyndsey Buckingham has employed throughout the second half of his career, but they incorporated into songs that sound like nobody but The Tallest Man on Earth.

For a guy that has generally had to deal with people viewing him as an artist totally in thrall to his influences - even the people that like him have rarely treated his music as anything especially unique - that's a real achievement, and it's one that's come without Matsson needing to jump up and down and make a show of it, like a lot of artists in his position do. It's another layer on that sheen of perfection that seems to illuminate everything he does; There's No Leaving Now is an album that begs to be picked apart, but that can't be picked at, and it's tempting to say that this is what all high-minded singer/songwriters are ultimately aiming for. Even if it's not, it's tough to deny that Kristian Matsson is now way up in the highest echelons of the genre, and only a significant mainstream breakthrough, like Elliott Smith's on Good Will Hunting, is stopping his name from being included in every list and every canon there is for singer/songwriters.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Irving
Staff Reviewer
June 25th 2012



7163 Comments


Great review. Need to listen to this still.

Also, hi Nick =)

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
June 25th 2012



23801 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

good review and I agree, this guy has no bad songs

Samizdat
June 25th 2012



301 Comments


Amnesiac's amazing, though

MO
June 25th 2012



18441 Comments


review was sweet, still need to really listen to this properly

Digging: Immolation - Dawn of Possession

JesusChris
June 25th 2012



673 Comments


amnesiac is the best radiohead album.. strange comparison

JesusChris
June 25th 2012



673 Comments


great review though

ThunderNeutral21
June 26th 2012



3864 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

indeed

iswimfast
June 26th 2012



1284 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Awesome review. I completely agree with that sense of dread looking forward to possibly something that won't be up to the standards he has spoiled us into having.

Digging: A Sunny Day in Glasgow - Sea When Absent

NightProwler
June 26th 2012



6337 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Indeed, his three albums sets a high standard, and not one of them includes one bad song

Digging: Every Time I Die - From Parts Unknown

MyWife
June 26th 2012



367 Comments


5 it

Skimaskcheck
June 26th 2012



2360 Comments


Little Brother is surely about Justin Vernon, right?

conradtao
Emeritus
June 26th 2012



2090 Comments


zzzzzzz

conradtao
Emeritus
June 26th 2012



2090 Comments


I love love love his voice but too many of his songs fall flat for me. in my extremely humble opinion I think his most consistent release is Sometimes The Blues

robin
Emeritus
June 26th 2012



4247 Comments


sometimes the blues would probably be my favourite of his releases

conradtao
Emeritus
June 26th 2012



2090 Comments


WWWWHOOOAAA ROBIN A FIVE WHAT

:3

robin
Emeritus
June 26th 2012



4247 Comments


i love this guy. it's not hard for him to write an amazing song because he's so fantastic with aphorisms (just, like, dylan. this is the thing, surely).

zxlkho
June 26th 2012



3460 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan

Please stop with the comparison already.

robin
Emeritus
June 26th 2012



4247 Comments


why? it's a valid comparison. they both write songs that circle 'round to a central chorus with what tends to be a standing aphorism

why can't i talk about what i want to talk about

zxlkho
June 26th 2012



3460 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Because it's basically beating a dead horse to death over and over and over and over.

also that was almost a Dog Fashion Disco reference.

robin
Emeritus
June 26th 2012



4247 Comments


it annoys you to have a musician compared to another amazing musician in a discussion/appreciation of his music



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