Reviews:: Magnet The Simple Life

Magnet - AKA Even Johansen - is back with a new record, The Simple Life. While the title suits the laid back nature of his songs, it doesn't accurately describe the instrumentation and diversity he puts into the project. Despite the skill of his last record, The Tourniquet, Even didn't blow up like I thought he might and with this release I sense more of the same reaction.

Although Magnet still relies on a lot of the same melodies (Volatile sounds like it could have been a b-side fro the Tourniquet and Navigator is comfort food for fans), the first major difference you'll hear is the banjo infused country twang he uses on several songs (A Little Happier, The Gospel Song). While it hits home with me, people who fell in love with his lush arrangements and floating melodies might be put off.

BUT: If you have the patience to give the record a few listens, you will start to realize the new wrinkles he adds make the songs that much better. He pushes his own limits on this one, adding several wind instruments and stepping away from the sparkling electronics that led me to compare him to Mugison. I mean, can you imagine playing his last record and hearing a Marley cover (She's Gone - which I hoped was actually the Hall & Oates jam)?

Before you jump ship, he isn't moving to Nashville and scouring the vintage stores for those Cowboys shirts with the shiny buttons or smoking the reef as he strolls barefoot on the beach. He still writes songs that drift along perfectly and tosses in horns, xylophones and guitar at just the right times - he's a bit more gritty on this one. A lot of the subtle electronics are gone, and in their place are nice strings (the nice arrangement on the hand clap heavy The Gospel Song). The organic textures really crackle. Take a chance on this one. While it might not blow you away, it's rock solid from start to finish.

MP3:: Lonely No More
MP3:: Hold On
web site :: myspace

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