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Music: The Tallest Man On Earth
The Tallest Man On Earth – There’s No Leaving Now
“Like a rain to help a river
But a river is so hard
But I've grown to see the diamond
Thrown in just for me”
Kristian Matsson released what was possibly the most beautiful record of 2010. The Wild Hunt drew on lost romantic imagery with a haunting split which would etch a scar on this overeager reviewer.
However where The Wild Hunt saw the boy throwing himself into the icy river to escape heartbreak mountain, There’s No Leaving Now seeks to explore that same river with a newfound Nietzschean acceptance of the perceived evils which are required for ultimate growth.
The chorus to ‘Grow Away’ – the record’s first track attests to this observation immediately (lyrics above): there is a glistening diamond hiding away in that grey alluvium, it’s been under the earth being beat up by pressure for centuries and now it has tumbled through those white rapids just for you! The cheery optimism is evident in the track’s instrumentation; electric guitars, drums – I did prefer the one broken voice, guitar, occasional banjo, occasional piano show of The Wild Hunt, but it is clear that Matsson is not here to reinvent that well-wrought wheel.
The furthered musical experimentation within There’s No Leaving Now may grow on me, it may not; what is clear to me is that Matsson’s lyrical ability – his astounding use of words to elicit emotions and visual forms in the listener – is ever on the increase.
‘1904’ tells a shell-shocked tale of Continental warfare: “And now something in these trails is just different/since they shook the earth in 1904”. ‘There’s No Leaving Now’ again makes the record’s overarching argument that the lion boy who would once run for the hills is finally ready to settle.
‘Little Brother’ pines for loved lost kin: “Why are you drinking again, little brother?/when your rambling's the hard part of loving you/you say the creek and that fog wants to drown you/but there are deeper of wells where we're going to.”
Mattson is a true minstrel and one could happily lose themselves pondering his poems for hours. I wouldn’t place There’s No Leaving Now quite alongside his prior efforts (The Wild Hunt will be on my iPod for years), however it is part of his progression as an artist, and as cliché as it sounds, I will listen to whatever he chooses to release.
Written by Theo Sangster.
21 August 2012
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