Album Review by Mark Bayross
Magnet man Even Johansen’s second album starts impressively – HOLD ON is a magnificent collision of strings, warm electronics, banjo and a stunning chorus, almost like a male “Homogenic”-era Björk.
From there, it seems to envelop itself in a warm blanket of subtle electronics, found sounds and Johansen’s silky vocals. While the likes of BELIEVE and FALL AT YOUR FEET possess melody in spades, and the slowed-down ska of ALL YOU ASK (think Thom Yorke fronting The Specials) adds some welcome variety, the all-pervading fragility of the album does mean it takes a few listens to sink in.
Some of the best moments occur towards the end: BLOW BY BLOW possesses the dark drama of Martin Grech and the closing JAWS leaves its sparkly lyricism in your head long after it finishes.
Playing your trump card at the start of an album is usually a fatal mistake, but the quality of the song writing, added to the lovingly crafted production, should elevate this album’s appeal beyond the faithful who bought and loved ON YOUR SIDE.