The Tallest Man on Earth | There’s No Leaving Now (Dead Oceans)

tallestman sqKristian Matsson’s voice is the blade, and then it is the salve.


Over the course of three very solid albums, Kristian Matsson—aka The Tallest Man on Earth—has proven himself a talented and creative wordsmith and song crafter. His latest release, 2012’s There’s No Leaving Now, achieved a much fuller sound than his previous work, due in part to the addition of woodwinds and drums. I think it’s his most finest-tuned and cohesive work to date. The only thing that could have made it better is if he had included my favorite of his songs, “Thrown Right at Me,” which was part of a 2010 EP. This track would have nestled nicely right between “Leading Me Now” and “1904,” enriching an album that is heavy on symbolism with a shot of direct communication.

That said, there is more than enough to love about this album. In “Revelation Blues,” Matsson floors me with one line that eloquently expresses an entire relationship: “Sometimes it’s just roses dyin’ too young.” The fingerpicking in “You’re Leading Me Now” is a prime example of why we came up with the term “plucking my heartstrings.” When “Wind and Walls” comes on, I can’t hold still; I want to leap up and spin in circles. “On Every Page” knifes me in the gut. The word “nasal” used in conjunction with someone’s singing voice isn’t very often a compliment, but for Matsson, it’s his signature and his most powerful tool. It is the blade, and then it is the salve.

When the release came out last year with no corresponding tour date for St. Louis, I was more than a little disappointed. So you can place a sure bet on my being in the audience when The Tallest Man on Earth serenades our fair city at The Pageant on June 5, with openers Strand of Oaks. If he plays “Thrown Right at Me,” it will be the cherry on top. Wink. Wink. Nudge. Nudge. | Janet Rhoads

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