In a move of either great genius or bitter irony, Even Johansen’s second album to see U.S. release may go down as one of the most aptly titled recordings of the decade. The album’s name was meant to convey the uplifting counterpoint it plays to his previous album – the melancholic On Your Side (2004) – and show the world that his bleeding heart has been stemmed. Unfortunately for Johansen, the title’s root word (it’s from the French tourner: to turn) comes back to haunt him; The Tourniquet is the sound of the Johansen spinning his creative wheels.
There really isn’t anything particularly offensive about the album. I almost wish there were, though, since that would at least give the album some personality. Instead, The Tourniquet plods along, one muted, introspective song bleeding into the next until it’s hard to tell when one song ends and the next begins. This likely won’t bother you much, since you’ve likely stopped paying attention anyway.
The real dagger here isn’t the repetition, though, it’s the production. The mellow guitars and little electronic flourishes that make up the album are polished to the point of sounding sterile. It’s music that sounds like its been made behind a giant sneeze guard, preventing any of Johansen’s personality from seeping through. Magnet songs have been featured on such dramas as Six Feet Under and The O.C., and it’s easy to see why. The songs are so bereft of individuality they can be shoehorned easily into any given plot.
Unexceptional and devoid of charm, The Tourniquet is, on the whole, disposable. It’s not as though Johansen is untalented, he just needs to get over his vanilla infatuation.