"On Your Side"

(Filter US Recordings 2004)Magnet - On Your Side

Crooning like the love child of Rufus Wainwright and the late Jeff Buckley, Even Johansen, the Norwegian musician chiefly responsible for Magnet, makes "On Your Side" a smooth a ride that flies on soaring vocals and swelling instrumentation. "On Your Side" is a deep and many layered beast that was well mixed to maintain that intensity and texture as each song comes at you from a slightly different direction.

Johansen remains reserved throughout, maintaining control over the gentle melodies of tracks like "Everything's Perfect" where horns are enlisted into the serenade, and "Where Happiness Lives," with its rhythmic tumbling. Light and airy, "Last Day of Summer" seemingly rides on the waves as chimes ring quietly. Johansen brings his symphony together with the tight orchestration of "On Your Side," as keyboard added whirls mingle with succinct strings, and "The Day We Left Town," which grows from a serene song fit for a black and white film of the fifties and becomes a tune fit for the present day cinemas. Never to be forgotten, Bob Dylan's timeless "Lay Lady Lay" makes an appearance as does songstress Gemma Hayes for a charming duet. Adapting his classic sound, Johansen adds a hop to his step in "My Darling Curse" and "Smile to the World," relying on samples and drums.

Magnet's "On Your Side" sounds fresh and smart as it takes chances without being overt and focuses on thoughtful lyrics and tight instrumentation. Even under the guise of Magnet, Johansen clearly does not need any help as he single-handedly wrote a majority of the album. He has turned the minimal tracks of "On Your Side" into swelling pieces of music where each moment, each beat, and each note matters.


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