Thursday, August 30, 2012

Class of 2012: The Tallest Man on Earth - There's No Leaving Now

Musically speaking, The Tallest Man On Earth's Kristian Matsson seems to have hit a growth spurt recently.  There were early indications of this when we first heard a piano on 2010's The Wild Hunt and then later in that same year when we heard an electric guitar on the EP Sometimes The Blues Is Just A Passing Bird.  Instead of the simple yet effective strumming or picking of an acoustic guitar with vocals, Matsson now opts for multi-tracked/layered instrumentation for a fuller and more polished sound.

 This maturation is clearly evident from the outset with the keys on opener "To Just Grow Away."  The next three songs feature Matsson at his best - "Revelation Blues" with its subtle layers, "Leading Me Now" with its early Tallest Man feel, and "1904" with its acoustic strumming and electric accents. 

The album's biggest surprise begins the second half of There's No Leaving Now.  The title track is a piano-based ballad during which Matsson pushes his voice a little further than normal.  It's also one of the record's highlights.

While the remaining four tracks aren't forgettable, they can't keep up with their predecessors.  There's not a clunker in the bunch, but the album loses a bit of steam at this point.

Overall, this is another very good effort for The Tallest Man On Earth.  If you're new to this artist, then start with his debut album Shallow Grave and work your way up to this latest one.  If you're already familiar with The Tallest Man and are okay with Matsson branching out a bit and not just playing acoustic-only songs, then you should enjoy There's No Leaving Now.

Grade: B+  (87.5%)

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