Magnet, who's real name is Even Johansen, has continuously received great reviews from British music press and his latest album was released on 22 August. On his upcoming UK tour he is set to support UK outfit The Engineers.
Magnet’s music simultaneously follows in the footsteps of traditional folkdom and modern surrealism, treading a neat path between the two. Johansen draws upon a vast array of influences, from the dusty warmth of Gram Parsons to the ethereal electronica of Air, tenderly etching out the mark that is his own unique sound. NME has likened Magnet to artists Tim Buckley and Coldplay, and others have placed him in the ranks of such names as Johnny Cash, Elliott Smith, Beck, and the Doves. Indeed, these comparisons have not been made in vain.
Even’s first forays into musicianship began at an early age. He grew up in the wake of an old four-string guitar owned by his father, a musician who toured the world in a Norwegian Jazz/Swing dance troupe. Later, in Scotland, his love for the lap steel materialized, quickly prompting his ascent into the world of Rock ‘N’ Roll. Even has always had an a fixation on Clint Eastwood and he admits, “That’s when I became a cowboy – I saw this beautiful guitar in the window of a shop in Dumfries and I had to have it.” And have it he did. In fact, it is this guitar sound that brings life to Even’s unique brand of storytelling.
Magnet’s upcoming UK tour will see Johansen and his very vital new backing band playing gigs in Southend, Brighton, Bristol, London, Northampton, Nottingham, Leeds, Glasgow, Manchester and Liverpool. Tour dates are found in the calendar section.
A few review excerpts following the release of Magnet’s latest album ‘The Tourniquet’:
It’s hard to think of a songwriter who more honestly reflects the bewildering coexistence in the enraptured heart of joy and melancholy than Magnet’s Evan Johansen. The Norwegian first displayed this talent on 2003’s On Your Side; on its successor, he returns to the duality, suffusing songs apparently inspired by ardour with killer key shifts and shards of lyrical ambiguity that speak of darker emotions. Thus, on the nursery rhyme-like The Pacemaker, he pays tribute to an unnamed helpmeet, then utters the line: “Only you can hold me like a tourniquet.” Perhaps the greatest of Johansen’s qualities is his elusiveness — admittedly, not something much treasured in artists, from whom the voyeur in us requires a degree of revelation. With his quavering tenor and genre-defying blend of country, MOR and electronica — and communicating, on highlights such as Believe and Duracellia, the sense of a heart more heavy than giddy with love — Johansen charts his own course, with haunting results
The Critic | August 2005 | by Padraig Regan | 4/5
As soon as you hear the first song you can imagine them in their island studio overlooking the fjords with Hold On playing in the background enveloping them in sound: beauty all around. Front the start, The Tourniquet picks you up in its arms and rocks you, sways you, whispers to you, soothes you and teaches you. It’s powerful and emotional, lyrically and musically. Johansen’s songwriting abilities are unquestionable and he has continued in that vein with a strong set of honest, autobiographical and thought-provoking songs. Faulkner has added a spectacular and rare lushness to the sound that does remind you of Bellybutton’s happy harmony-driven lightness.
The Sun | August 19, 2005
Magnet, a.k.a. Even Johansen, hails from Norway – but thankfully The Tourniquet is almost free of the self-conscious, Northern Lights/Beowulf vibe beloved Bjork and other musicians from anywhere north of Glasgow.
I detected a little thaw-on-the-frozen-tundra on The Peacemaker but not enough to conjure the Snow Queen – so he got away with it.
The Tourniquet opens with the anthemic Hold On – and Magnet says of the album’s first single: “For me it’s like a soul ballad with a Beach Boys outtro.” Miss Her So showcases the songwriting skill that has made Magnet a star in Norway and a soundtrack contributor to TV drama The O.C. and hit movie Six Feet Under. Fall at Your Feet is more California than Oslo and Duracellia is early Paul Simon via Harry Nilsson.
Gay Times | August 2005 | by Joe Heaney
He may come from Bergen, but the mysterious Magnet is no Annie. His debut album, long-awaited in some quarters, is simply gorgeous. Yearning, warm and sometimes quite filmic, The Tourniquet is Keane with knobs on, or a Radiohead without the paranoia. You can also hear the best of The Beach Boys in there, too. Norway’s answer to Rufus Wainwright, perhaps?
NME | August 2005 | by Priya Elan | 7/10
When Magnet (aka wunderkind Even Johansen) isn’t soundtracking the surreal death parlour angst of Six Feet Under, he’s letting his bone-dry-with-angst insides spill out onto the stereo while a 58-piece orchestra gently weeps like a big girl in the background. Like a modern-day Scott Walker, Johansen splices gorgeous folk-driven melodies with buzzsaw beats, male voice choirs and the kitchen sink breaking into a million floaty pieces. The likes of highlight ‘The Pacemaker’ are the sound of a laptop slowing sinking to the bottom of the ocean, anchored by My Morning Jacket’s tangled beards.
Best of all, though, is the way that ‘The Tourniquet’ displays the kind of classic songwriting spliced with darkly-hued futurism that Chris Martin failed to deliver on Coldplay’s new album: time to put down that copy of ‘X&Y’ and take up with ‘The TOurniquet’ instead.
Music Week | August 2005