Wednesday, 18 July 2012

There's no leaving now



The name of The Tallest Man on Earth's newest album is also what any true devotee of the tallest man will think after a full listen through it. In many ways the new album of swedish songwriter Kristian Mattson, confidently self-named "The Tallest Man On Earth", follows in the same eccentric and appealing style that he established in his two previous albums, "Shallow Grave" and "The Wild Hunt". In his new album Mattson's guitar lines continue to draw heavily from Blues and Country influences. His voice, unsurprisingly, retains the same dylanesque quality (sorry the comparison is too obvious not too make) and delicate, broken cadences that always made it appealing. Mattson proves himself once again as a paragon of finger picking, creating impossibly intricate and catchy accompaniments. Yet this album does deviate in some ways from his previous albums. The title track, There's No Leaving Now, abandons the guitar entirely, placing an emotionally charged melody against a soft chordal accompaniment. "On Every Page" begins with an interesting Spanish-Styled fingerpicking intro. I have read several reviews along the lines that this album does not do enough to deviate from Mattson's previous albums. I disagree. I believe that as long as Mattson continues to experiment and to incorporate new elements into his work his songs will be interesting whilst retaining the same qualities that fans of Mattson have always admired. And for those who complain that Mattson's lyrics don't make sense, lets be honest, they never have. Perplexing, ambiguous symbolism has always been his style. If you can find a needle in the haystack of metaphors that conveys some meaning for you, then I imagine his lyrics have done just what The Tallest Man intended them to. That passage for me in this album is:

And in that sound of sighing,
That empty how,
And all the ever-loving
Bends in the line of your tracks.
Some ends forgotten and other released
What ever happened to the boys
Now that sailed for the seas
Well you know you're already young
Like the grass withered to become
Again and free.


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