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There's No Leaving Now

4.6 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 12, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

There's No Leaving Now, the 2012 record from Kristian Matsson's aptly titled moniker, The Tallest Man On Earth, finds the Swedish troubadour trading in the sense of urgency that fueled his first two records for a confidently relaxed approach. Drums, piano, baritone guitar, woodwinds and pedal steel layer this collection of songs that never compromise virtuosity for immediacy.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 12, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: DEAD OCEANS
  • ASIN: B007PVHBE0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,275 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: MP3 Music
It's a common problem facing artists who gain underground popularity with a lo-fi sound that they might face the inevitable backlash of putting out a higher-quality production. Artists as diverse as Rusted Root, O.A.R., and David Gray have faced this problem of retaining the sound of their humble beginnings, while also continuing to evolve as an artist.

On "There's No Leaving Now", Swedish singer-songwriter Kristian Mattson plays it safe, building a sort of bridge between his old formula of a man and his acoustic guitar and whatever the new sound will ultimately be. For the first time, there are hints of a drum track in the background, as well as track layering (where Matsson records one guitar part and then records a solo over it). The results are all at once jarring, disappointing, and beautiful.

Mattson drew a lot of Bob Dylan comparisons with 2008's "Shallow Grave" and 2010's "The Wild Hunt". Those entire albums were just Mattson and his guitar, recorded in poor quality in what sounded like a barn with a single run-through. For me and a lot of other Tallest Man fans, the lo-fi aspect was part of the music's charm, along with Mattson's unique voice and skilled guitar playing with open tuning.

On this album, there's a few tracks that sound like they could have been on the first two albums, but ultimately, there aren't enough of the high-energy acoustic guitar moments to warrant a 5-star review. My view may change over time, but I don't hear anything on this album quite up to par with "I Won't Be Found", "The Gardner", "The Wild Hunt", or "King of Spain". That's not to say that this isn't a very solid and beautifully performed album...I would just recommend that new fans of The Tallest Man on Earth check out his earlier 2 LP's before trying this one out.
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Although he may look small compared to the 8 foot 3 inches tall Sultan Kosen, the current tallest man in the world, The Tallest Man on Earth is the artist name for Swedish singer-songwriter Kristian Matsson. Since the release of his debut self-titled EP in 2006, Matsson has released two EPs and three full-length records under the moniker. Known for his distinctive vocals that may remind listeners of a young Bob Dylan with a slightly harsher edge, The Tallest Man on Earth built his name touring with the likes of Bon Iver and Jon Vanderslice before his second album, 2010's "The Wild Hunt," began opening new doors for him.

"There's No Leaving Now," picks up right where "The Wild Hunt" left off with mostly acoustic guitar-driven performances that frequently involve complex finger-picking techniques. The fact Matsson is able to play such complex parts while singing only makes the listening experience that much more impressive.

Although the base instrumentation is typically the same as his previous releases, "There's No Leaving Now" often adds additional instruments into the backdrop of the music which sets this set of songs apart from previous singles like "The Wild Hunt" and "King of Spain." Opening with "To Just Grow Away," a keyboard can be heard in the distance adding just a touch of extra color to the mix. This layer may not even be noticeable to those unfamiliar with Matsson's previous efforts, but anyone who owns "Shallow Grave" or "The Wild Hunt" will recognize there's something new here.

Further along in the record, the instrumentation additions become more obvious. The slide guitar on "Bright Lanterns," for instance, turns a relatively simple acoustic track into one of the most beautiful songs on the album.
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Format: Audio CD
Kristian Matsson's latest release under the Tallest Man on Earth moniker is another batch of emotionally-wrought, bare-bones songwriting. Like previous releases THE WILD HUNT or SHALLOW GRAVE, THERE'S NO LEAVING NOW will do nothing to stop people from comparing Matsson to a modern-day Bob Dylan; Matsson's raspy, sometimes nasally croon recalls a lot of Dylan's early work. The difference here is THERE'S NO LEAVING NOW sounds decidedly less angry and caustic; this album is a largely mellow, sparse, and great.

This album, largely composed of just vocals and guitar, has a lot of range. From upbeat rants ("Wind and Walls,") to soulful ballads ("There's No Leaving Now,") to midtempo tunes ("Leading Me Now"), Mattson covers a surprising amount of territory with his low-fi folk. It sounds as if the songwriter is more comfortable in the studio now more than ever before; these songs take their time and don't quite have the urgency that was apparent of SHALLOW GRAVE. This slight change seems as if Matsson is testing the waters before making any changes to his tried-and-true sound. Spread across 10 tracks, THERE'S NO LEAVING NOW will satisfy fans with its consistent quality. For listeners who were hoping for Matsson to cover new territory, this album will be a bit of a disappointment.

Fans of Bob Dylan, Neutral Milk Hotel, Sun Kil Moon, and Richard Ashcroft will find a lot to like in THERE'S NO LEAVING NOW. Listeners who didn't enjoy the first two albums probably won't be swayed by this collection of tracks. Standout highlights to sample are: the selftitled "There's No Leaving Now," "To Just Grow Away," and "1904." These songs give a pretty good representation of what to expect from the album.
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