TOURNIQUET, from Norwegian songwriter Magnet, features three extra bonus tracks.
Even Johansen's second album under the Magnet moniker is a lushly produced collection of dreamy bedroom ballads. The Tourniquet compares favorably to efforts from Johansen's singer/songwriter peers such as Josh Rouse, Ron Sexsmith, and Jason Falkner; the latter's fingerprints are all over the album as a producer and general collaborator. While syrupy tunes like "Fall at Your Feet" and "Miss Her So" might paint Magnet as an unhip, dreamy confectioner, listeners weaned on heart-on-their-sleeve artists like Keane, Rufus Wainwright, and David Gray will find the confessionalist footing here quite familiar. Gray's White Ladder-style electronic-gurgling undercurrent is a clear influence on these 11 tracks, but counting the bpm would be a mistake, because the album has an acoustic heart underneath its electronic sheen. Magnet's calling cards are tales of lost loves, earnest lullaby-like vocals, and a slowly strummed guitar. The strongest moments come with the opener and closer, but everything that flows between them ebbs and flows with grace and restraint. While this restraint adds to the album's cohesive feel, it wouldn't have necessarily been a bad thing if Johansen had returned to the bite of "Hold On" a bit more. It's not always a good idea to sequence an album's strongest track first. But there's little reason to nitpick given that The Tourniquet is such a smooth, delightful whole. ~ Tim DiGravina