WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 01, 2012|
Posted by: Zoe Marquedant
In 2010, The Tallest Man on Earth's "King of Spain" was the indie equivalent of a Katy Perry song. It was everywhere and inescapable, but it wasn't flashy enough to convert everyone into an instant fan. The Tallest Man on Earth has always been something of an acquired taste. The Swedish singer-songwriter has always been holed-away in a very specific sound. Now we have reason to believe that said sound isn't going anywhere. As the album title and track name may suggest, Krisitian Matsson has settled into a rhythm and 'there's no leaving now.' His past albums and EPs presented listeners with consistent indie folk. When There's No Leaving Now came out in July, there was no change in the formula. It was more intricate finger-picking and opening tuning topped off with Matsson's nasal-y Dylan-esque voice. Anyone who was underwhelmed or surprised hasn't been listening.
Every track was another wordy story line paired with Matsson's impeccable guitar playing. His work pulled both musically and lyrically from the likes of Bob Dylan and Nick Drake. There's No Leaving Now follows that track and sees the same soft-spoken acoustic guitar. Drums, piano, woodwinds, and slide guitar are incorporated into the mix, but overall The Tallest Man on Earth is instrumentally stark. Where he holds back in volume, he makes up for in words. Matsson's lyrics paint a surprisingly bright picture of clear skies and flowers for a man based in Sweden. Some tracks hint at a chill in the weather and a colder interior, but the two sides are skillfully combined and the seams are well hidden.
Strum-happy "Wind and Walls" is perhaps the liveliest track on the album, especially juxtaposed with the piano-ballad "There's No Leaving Now". Again it presents nothing new. But why mess with a winning recipe? A strong note for the album has to be "Revelation Blues" -- the opening sentiment, "I was more than just a coward / I was handsome too / I felt nothing when your flood came down" runs the abstract line. Matsson's lyrics often do, but as a whole There's No Leaving Now is more concrete. The track "Little Brother" steps away from the forest imagery and presents a tragic loss of innocence, with positively decimating results.
There are still traces of the fantastical world, which his world usually occupies, in song like "Criminal." The songs reinforce Matsson's style and prove that The Tallest Man Alive isn't changing his process any time soon.