6.4

The Tallest Man on Earth: There's No Leaving Now

Music  |  Reviews
Text
The Tallest Man on Earth: <i>There's No Leaving Now</i>

Kristian Matsson deals largely in the abstract, but for a concrete idea of what There’s No Leaving Now sounds like, imagine Bob Dylan getting whiplash from a taste of Scandinavian air. A Dylan disciple since in utero, the Swedish-born Matsson’s songs reimagine Dust Bowl blues through a lo-fi lens. They also project coldness rather than intimacy, the floods of reverb taking on bizarrely inhuman shapes. The specter of hand-churned Americana does loom large over There’s No Leaving Now—it’s just warped into something taciturn and alien.

There’s No Leaving Now is a deadly serious record, never once wavering from the thesis potted on “1904”: “Well, some say it’s not even funny/And there you stand not even trying.” A similar indictment could be leveled at Matsson’s humorless past tourmates Bon Iver, but for all the superlatives with which that group has been showered, their albums meld pretty unassumingly into a stoned, comfortable blur. Matsson wants a spot in the canon, and seems to feel that his surest path there involves singing in a register high and supernaturally Dylanesque enough to convince Bringin’ It All Back Home fans that they’re experiencing a profound case of déjà vu.

Songs like “Wind and Walls” and “Revelation Blues” are certainly pretty enough, but they come in one shade: diffuse, wordy, ambling melancholy. The piano-jingling title track is a welcome relief, hinting at a pair of pop songwriting chops that the rest of the album tries hard to bury. Otherwise, There’s No Leaving Now settles too readily into a single slumberous mood. It’s all pull and no push.

Sign up for the Paste newsletter Get our daily summary of the day's top articles and new items. Sign Up Thank you! Your email address has been added to our list. You will begin receiving our newsletter within 48 hours.

Paste Magazine example 1 Paste Magazine example 2 Paste Magazine example 3