The mysterious Magnet, Even Johansen – another resident of the Norwegian hit-factory town of Bergen, Norway returns this winter with ‘The Tourniquet’, his second US full length album and the follow up to the massively acclaimed debut ‘On Your Side’.
For those who don’t know much of the man that is Magnet – here is a brief synopsis… His debut three EP’s (Where Happiness Lives, Chasing Dreams, The Day We Left Town) for Ultimate Dilemma created a storm amongst the tastemakers of the world, i-D proclaimed him for his “extraordinary songs,” Dazed & Confused were wowed by his “beautiful pop melodies which ebb and flow over slide guitar”, Rolling Stone, NME and Q all swooned over his unique charms.
His debut album ‘On Your Side’ further confirmed what we has suspected all along about Johansen, that his songwriting was not only rich and unique, but that he had the ability to tap into the human vein; of life, love and loss...picking up rave reviews along the way, yet more appreciation in the world of dance, became a major star in his native Norway, soundtracking teen angst on the O.C, weird adult angst on Six Feet Under (and infact many other TV shows/films) and having one of the sleeper hits of the year with his cover of Dylan’s seminal ‘Lay Lady Lay’, a duet with Irish songstress Gemma Hayes (Itself currently soundtracking the Hollywood smash hit Mr & Mrs Smith).
Not content to just invade your world gently, he decided to rock your world too, and spent much of the last three years on tour both on several European, UK and US headline tours, and as special guest support to bands and artists as broad as Doves, Phoenix, Ed Harcourt, Hayes herself, Zero 7, A-ha outdoors to 30,000 people in his hometown and countless others. These experiences have helped paint new Technicolor flow into the B&W and pastel shades of his songs.
While plaudits, pundits, music lovers and human beings in general found solace and comfort in the trademark Magnet melancholica of ‘On Your Side’, ‘The Tourniquet’ is not so much a record soaked in optimism, but one reborn in it. First single ‘Hold On’ opens ‘The Tourniquet’ with searing anthemic invigoration…“You’re not alone,” croons the Magnet, re-inviting you on a warm and aspirational journey into music, just like The Beach Boys, Nilsson, The Beatles and other classic artists did so well.
Elsewhere ‘Believe’ soars like nothing we’ve heard from him before, put simply it is a majestic pop record. ‘All You Ask’, follows a dubby dynamic groove, ‘Fall At Your Feet’ and ‘Blow By Blow’ explore the melodic development of Magnet. Here you will find Love songs, heart songs and head strong songs. Where previously he was described by one journalist as Thom Yorke trapped in a David Lynch film, here it is Johansen himself that is scoring his own Sofia Coppola-esque epic cinematic masterpiece, but with a few Wes Anderson twists, and a little Lynch-ian suspense thrown in for good measure.
Once again a home base formed the flux of the recording of ‘The Tourniquet’, but having decamped from his former base in Lockerbie, Scotland back to his heartland, an island just outside Bergen, on Norway’s west coast. Set amongst the fjords and the whistling of nature’s untapped nerve, Johansen has crafted a beautiful and emotive album that has evolved with his songwriting into something truly special.
He was joined on his journey by Jason Falkner of seminal act Jellyfish, whose previous credits include work with Beck, Paul McCartney & Air, providing a collaborative balance and sheen to proceedings, which was then polished off in the sunshine of Los Angeles. “We both had a very different slant on things; he takes his pop music very seriously.” The collective sound is a new invigoration of what it was that drew us to Magnet in the first place, “The only real difference for me is that it probably sounds like it was more fun to make, which means it was,” coo’s el Magnet. As he sings on the sublime magnificence of ‘The Pacemaker,’ “round for round, only un-cool will travel on gravel ground”, Magnet isn’t about fads or fashion, rather raw emotion and the soul laid bare in the time honoured tradition of music.
The US version of “The Tourniquet” also features and exclusive bonus track, “This Bird Will Never Fly” which doesn’t appear on any of the international releases. Take his hand, you will follow…
Magnet’s guide to “The Tourniquet”
Hold On – “For me, it’s like a soul ballad, with a Beach Boys outro, and it means? Well I think it means what all good soul ballads mean – there are good times a comin’… It seemed like a nice positive way to start the album.”
Duracellia – “This is a love story. It’s pretty plain and simple, does exactly what it says on the tin. Sometimes the simplest things are the hardest things to explain. Maybe it’s a love song for a man who runs on Duracell batteries...maybe not.”
The Pacemaker – “In a way this is a drinking song, but not directly, its about how somebody you know that drinks too much, everyone knows someone like that, it’s universally applicable, its about realisation and reactivation.”
Believe- “Maybe the first Magnet ‘pop’ song, when you are writing songs, it’s very hard to be positive all the time. I think this is a musician’s view to making a record; you’ve got to be positive…and if you’re going to Believe in someone or something, then its best to believe in yourself.“
All You Ask – “Is probably Magnet’s first lullaby. I knew I had one in me somewhere and this is as close as I’ll get. It’s quite sublime and subtle, a nice pleasant cruise along in the world of Magnet.”
Deadlock (Its Over) – “Simply put, this is the most positive break-up song ever written. No complications, no arguments, like a celebrity marriage gone wrong, all amicable and dignified in the face of an almost oblivious loss.”
Fall At Your Feet – “Some old ideas are the foundations of ‘Fall At Your Feet’, maybe it’s the last airing of my indie Magnet legs, but a song of which I’m very pleased. It’s nice to throw in some melodies and a sprinkle of an old fashioned love song for good measure.”
Blow By Blow – “Is a song about the universal problem of mining blood from a stone, and can probably be applied to any difficult situation or task that life throws at. I think if you listen to music with feeling then you need to connect, well maybe I’m a simple guy with simple feelings, so hopefully everyone can relate to this.”
Miss Her So –“It doesn’t exactly take rocket science to work this one out; it’s a touring account for when you’re lost in Shanghai or Vladivostok or somewhere. Life on the road easily becomes the long road home after a while, with a jump in your step and a song in your heart.”
Jaws – “Well would it surprise you that it’s a love song, no…It’s the only song with strings on, so it had to be the last song, to leave a lasting impression. It’s so expensive to put them on a record, so you’ve got to get your money’s worth…ha. A song for somebody, about someone… for them to make their own and a nice way to end the album.”