It’s always intriguing to hear about an artist that takes its name from a bizarre anecdote. Take this Magnet fellow for example. Better known to his mother as Even Johansen, Magnet came about when suffering a case of anemia in his early teens, Johansen was sent by a “rock ‘n roll” doctor (as the biography says) to a “medicine man.” The medicine man felt that the best course of action would be to give young Johansen a tattoo of a magnet using “special ink.” Miracle cure! Johansen’s anemia was gone and the name stuck.
Unfortunately, that may just be the most interesting thing about Magnet. The Tourniquet opens strongly enough with the gentle pulsing beats and banjo strumming of “Hold On.” Johansen’s vocals drift through the verses but really come alive during the chorus giving the song more oomph. The lyrics are a bit on the schmaltzy side—”you’ll get through this, if you hold on/ ’cause the truth is you’re not alone“—but they’re delivered with such earnestness you can’t help but forgive the guy.
However, following “Hold On,” the rest of the album starts to sound a bit repetitive. While I’m all for blending programmed beats with an acoustic sensibility, Magnet’s songs, though well crafted, are fairly unremarkable. Songs like “The Pacemaker” have some little electronic blips, but other than that, sound like little more than a pleasant soft rock ballad to be played on VH1. “Believe” is a very genuine and sincere song, but while listening to it, I felt like it could easily have been sung by Chris Martin or worse yet, Bryan Adams.
In “Deadlock” I found myself more interested in the musicality of the song than with Johansen’s vocals and lyrics. The ending is particularly lovely with some backward synth samples and lovely string arrangement. “Fall At Your Feet” is a very touching love song and while the chorus reads as pretty corny (“when you sing like an angel/ I will fall at your feet“), I can’t help but admit I’d be thrilled to have someone write something like that for me.
Aside from those brief moments, I found myself largely disappointed with the album especially with such a strong beginning. Even Johansen is a solid writer and musician and the songs are incredibly listenable, but The Tourniquet is largely forgettable. The music is well crafted, but it hardly excites my emotions the way I suspect it’s supposed to do.
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