Music Reviews


Where Happiness Lives EP

Ultimate Dilemma

Magnet is Even Johansen, former singer and guitarist of Libido, a Radiohead-ish band that garnered some critical acclaim in the British music press for a few weeks some years back. Now out on his own, Magnet hasn’t quite renounced his Radiohead leanings, but he has added singer-songwriters in the vein of Elliott Smith and David Gray to his playlist, and come across in a far more subdued and, ultimately, more satisfying manner than before. His debut solo album, Quiet And Still was a welcome surprise, and this EP only ups the ante.

The title track and “Nothing Hurts Now” were both initially recorded for that debut effort, but are re-recorded here. “Where Happiness Lives” is without a doubt one of Magnet’s finest moments yet, a laid-back and lush, breezy track, irresistibly done. “There’s a million miles to go/To where happiness lives,” he sings, and it’s surely less optimistic than the title indicates.

The two new tracks are both unusually strong, both of them approaching his hushed, reverent live sound. Production by Sir Dupermann – who just released a great, weird electronica album himself – ensures a presence and immediacy that=EDs rare to come across, and it doesn’t hurt to have members of both CMJ-faves Sister Sonny and upcoming electro-poppers Kaptein Kaliber on board either. But Magnet himself is the star of his own show, his outstanding voice and lap-steel defining the music, giving it personality and life.

His songs aren’t the kind that jump about to get your attention, but repeated listening will reveal moments of profound and stunning intimacy and beauty, music that exists in spite of as much as because of misery and despair.

Ultimate Dilemma Records:

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