This edition to the Tallest Man on Earth’s discography is yet another outstanding piece in his growing repertoire of entrancing recordings. I may be bias due to my intense adoration for this unbelievably talented man; however, I doubt that I am alone in my smitten state. This being his third release, following The Wild Hunt (2010) and Shallow Grave (2008), Kristian Matsson has created what is said to be his best album yet. Far more polished than its predecessors, previous critics have labelled There’s No Leaving Now as a record to cherish, and I am obliged to agree with them.
Although it is all too easy to criticise Matsson’s lack of variety within his music, many forget that in terms of his guitar skill and lyrical brilliance, he is nothing short of a true musical genius. There’s No Leaving Now pays homage to Matsson’s talent and his ability to conquer his somewhat overcrowded genre with little more than the rough, yet sweet tang of his vocal cords, accompanied by dexterous finger picking on his acoustic guitar. The brick and mortar of his songs concentrate around romantic imagery, and this album seamlessly continues this much welcomed cannoned trend; moving to Sweden has never been so appealing.
One of the first things that I noticed while listening to this album, other than its extreme level of virtuosity, was how much more crisp and balanced the post production is in comparison to his previous releases. Mattson’s vocals have matured over the two-year gap between albums. He retains his distinct growl, yet manages to deliver his verbose lyrics with a less raspy tone, all without losing the unique sound by which he is identified.
Every track encompasses exactly what Kristian Matsson is all about: wholehearted sincerity with every beautiful lyric. The title track of the album is the standout. ‘There’s No Leaving Now’ is a piano-based masterpiece, to say the least. Raw, heart wrenching emotion and crystal clear vocals make this track one of my favourite Matsson songs of all time. It is difficult to list other songs that warrant attention as the entire album is so well crafted. However, the lead single ‘1904’, and the opening track, ‘To Just Grow Away’, should definitely be permitted to bless your ears.
Though with fewer standout tracks than The Wild Hunt, with its easy flow listening and focus on Matsson’s growth as a true artist, abolishing the comparison too often made with Bob Dylan, this album has already made its way onto my list of top albums for 2012, and perhaps the decade.
There’s No Leaving Now was released on 11 June 2012 on Dead Oceans.