The Tallest Man on Earth, the stage name of Swedish singer-songwriter Kristian Matsson, released his third full-length, There’s No Leaving Now,last Tuesday, June 12. (Matsson also celebrated the release with a performance at L.A.’s Wiltern Theatre.)
There’s No Leaving Now harkens back to Matsson’s 2008 and 2010 outputs, Shallow Grave and The Wild Hunt, respectively. Here he is still relying on resounding finger-picked guitar and his seemingly paradoxical magnetic and gravelly voice. But further than an elaboration past works, There’s No Leaving Now is an expansion of sound that finds Matsson moving beyond solitary acoustic guitar songs. The increased scope of instrumentation, through electric guitar, piano, and a shuffling, relaxed drum (“Just Grow Away”), reveals progression. The songs still rely on the gossamer guitar and aesthetically vivid lyricism, but Matsson’s vision widens beyond himself. The echoing electric guitar of the fragile “Little Brother,” reminiscent “Criminals,” and album highlight “1904” creates a variant, fuller soundscape than anything he’s released thus far.
Again the Bob Dylan comparisons are difficult to avoid, yet Matsson’s sincerity is decidedly his own. Closing track “On Every Page” poignantly ponders with the melodious teeth of Matsson’s 2008 song “Where Do My Bluebird Fly.” The few golden instances when Matsson raises his voice and then withdraws into wise recollection evoke the singular honesty that gives The Tallest Man on Earth its earnest power.