The Tallest Man On Earth-There's No Leaving Now
Dead Oceans/SC Distribution
Grade: 8.75 (B)
This isn't exactly new in the sense that it was released in the last week or two. I've been enjoying the latest LP from Swedish singer songwriter Kristian Matsson for about a month now. "There's No Leaving Now" is the third LP in his catalog and for fans that have been following along with Matsson since his terrific sophomore effort "The Wild Hunt" in 2010, well, you're going to get more of the same quality songs on his latest release. His knack for carving beautiful folk tinged Dylan like arrangements are still in place. "There's No Leaving Now" glides by in a more relaxed manner than previous efforts giving a feeling that Matsson is starting to grow more comfortable with his craft. It may not be the album to draw a legion of new fans to his beckoning, but there's more in the book than the cover may suggest to long time fans.
The handful of standouts make a welcome addition to his work with the same flourishes of earthy, laid back tones that just make you want to pull up a chair and think about nothing but pleasant things. True, Matsson still waxes tunes that are in a mournful light, but everything on "There's Leaving Now" leaves you yearning for more of his reflective pieces. When he finishes "Revelation Blues" musing "And I always want to bring you something/But sometimes they're just roses/Dying in the yard" the spirit of his work shines best. You remember his quip from earlier in the song that "It's the damn revelation blues" and it reminds you that you want to have another go at it. "1904" adds a little electric guitar to the arrangement with great paybacks and "Little Brother" starts each verse with an ode to his younger brother's demons and how he may just give up on helping him. They are both the two biggest standouts to me on the LP. Where "There's No Leaving Now" hits the hardest (which is funny because hard is the furthest word you would use to describe anything on such a fluently pleasant album) is with the piano he incorporates on the tile track. Matsson ends each chorus with the reminder "There's no leaving now" and you wonder if he's talking about where he is personally with the carefree music he's creating. It comes across so effortless that you're left with a wide smile. It shouldn't be so easy to craft something so gorgeous and unengaged at one time.
It's a difficult LP to review because it's faults are sparse. I can't find anything to nitpick about disliking it. His guitar picking remains unique and lovely and his knack for transferring self doubt into odes that anyone can relish remain in tact. In a two word review I would call it "sublimely pleasant". If that's not enough to get the juices flowing, than so be it. Matsson's approach is still highly likable and if you like what he's laid out before, chances are "There's No Leaving Now" won't disappoint.
JHO Picks: Revelation Blues, 1904, There's No Leaving Now, Little Brother, Wind And Walls