November 15, 2007

Record Review: Magnet

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Sure, Paul Simon had to make Graceland, Nick Drake had to sing breathy, Andrew Bird had to whistle and Rufus Wainwright had to croon in vibrato for this record to be made. But Magnet is not so simply an equal division of these parts. Magnet — really just Even Johansen — loves exotic rhythm (Simon), hyper-mellow singing (Drake), whistling and crooning. He also digs spacey sounds and slithering melodies. What results is The Simple Life. No, actually, just a simple life: a sugary and dreamy reverie. Yet because of all the goodness, Johansen makes even Conor Oberst seem like a badass. Luckily, the heavy rhythm — often synthesized and pulsing — gives the album an edge. The Simple Life is Magnet more revved up, leaving less empty space than before. “Gospel Song” shows off this newfound layering and proves that Johansen still has a knack for nuance with melody and words.