First Listen: The Tallest Man On Earth, 'There's No Leaving Now'

by Stephen Thompson, NPR
June 3, 2012

The Tallest Man on Earth's new album, There's No Leaving Now, comes out June 12. (Julia Mard)

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For those unfamiliar with The Tallest Man on Earth — a.k.a. Swedish singer-songwriter Kristian Matsson, who is of average size at best — skip directly to "Wind and Walls," which pops up roughly two-thirds of the way through There's No Leaving Now. Lest you think you've got Matsson's formula locked down (guy + guitar = guy + guitar), the song bobs and sways with undeniable rhythm, propelled by subtly dazzling finger-picking and vocals that project his insights to the rafters without losing their nuance. That's Matsson's formula: His music, constructed from the simplest and boldest of ingredients, maintains a capacity for bounciness, poignancy, propulsion and grace.

The Tallest Man on Earth's third full-length album, There's No Leaving Now, does tweak Matsson's sound every now and then — the piano that replaces his guitar in the title track provides the quietest jolt you'll hear today — yet sticks largely to it-ain't-broke mode. These 10 songs, like those before them, dazzle and shimmy and sulk, as Matsson continues to conjure images of a young Dylan projecting his voice through a megaphone. If the album seems more like a skillful remake than a sequel, that's okay: Out June 12, There's No Leaving Now remakes Matsson's sound subtly, but in highlight-strewn style.

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Click each song title for individual tracks, the last track is the album in its entirety.

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