It is impossible to discuss Kristian Matsson, known by the moniker The Tallest Man On Earth, without conjuring up an image of Bob Dylan. Yes, his vocals are raspy and imperfect, his style of fast guitar picking is reminiscent of a young Robert Zimmerman, but on There’s No Leaving Now, the Swede proves he is no tribute act. ‘To Just Grow Away’ is a sweet, melodic number that sets a tone that the rest of the tracks rarely verge too far away from. ‘Revelation Blues’ explores relationships that ended too soon (“sometimes it’s just roses dying too young”), while ‘Little Brother’ is mediation on the dangers of living too reckless a life with lyrics such as “well I won’t be around in the morning, can only pray there’s no harm in me moving on”.
There’s a change of pace on ‘Wind and Walls’, a track that diverts away from the relaxed, softened tone of the album with upbeat strings that sound as if they could have been taken straight from his 2008 debut. On the title track, Matsson gives his guitar a break for a simple piano piece, this may go unnoticed due to his his breathtaking vocal command. With his voice laid bare, the emotion and compelling nature of his performance is exceptional. It’s a with a feeling being short-changed that the record comes to an end with ‘On Every Page’, a melancholy, sullen tune that is something of an anti-climax.
To be honest, Matsson doesn’t really divert from the template established by his previous two efforts but there is more relaxed and less urgent feel to it. However, there is hardly a moment that isn’t a testament to the power of his voice and his dexterous guitar playing. He may come from a long line of singer/songwriters but he is definitely one worth taking note of. Sure There’s No Leaving Now isn’t a game changer but it further establishes The Tallest Man on Earth as a clever and talented musician with a distinctive flair.