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coverpic flag Norway - Full Moon 83 - 07/13/03

On Your Side
Ultimate Dilemma

Former Libido man Even Johansen has for some years been living in "exile" somwhere in Scotland. In 2000 he put out his critically acclaimed solo album debut Quiet & Still under the moniker Magnet. And now it's time for album two, On Your Side, with more of his magnetic pop melancholy.

On Your Side holds a bunch of good songs. A total of 11 songs; ten written by Johansen, plus a cover of Bob Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay" (with Gemma Hayes on guest vocal). Some songs have been out before such as the brilliant "The Day We Left Town" (from the The Day We Left Town EP), "Where Happiness Lives" and "I'll Come Along" (both from Where Happiness Lives EP).

Even Johansen writes strong and catchy melodies, and he creates believable spheres and landscapes for his songs and lyrics to live in. I get this forest feeling a lot of the time, with elves and animals lurking in the shadows. This has maybe somethig to do with the cover booklet art as well. Magnet makes sure there's plenty of warm-hearted melancholy, the music is airbrushed rather majestic and semi-dramatic, sometimes almost pretentious and pompous. But he somehow gets away with it head held high, with elegance and pride. Magnet also reminds me slightly of Travis' quietest moments.

On Your Side is an elegant album with a lot of beauty inside. I've never been much of a Bob Dylan fan, so I find the cover song to be a song too many. Stick to yer own, Even. And, as I mentioned, "The Day We Left Town" (glockenspiel and theremin) is great! Along with "Last Day of Summer", the string flavored (arranged by Sean O'Hagan) title track, the angelic-feverish "I'll Come Along", and the demonic sad closing track "Smile to the World".

Copyright © 2003 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

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