Which Way


Magnet first came to my attention when I learned that songwriter Bryan Harvey, of House of Freaks and Gutterball fame, had done some guitar work for their second full-length release, due out this fall. Magnet is essentially singer-guitarist Mark Goodman and whoever is in the room with him (on his website, you can find a list of 19 musicians, including Bob Rupe (the Silos and Gutterball), Bryan Harvey, and Moe Tucker (yes, that Moe Tucker) who have been involved with Magnet—and that doesn't even count the ex-Camper Van Beethoven members that he recently did a west coast tour with or the yet-to-be-announced "permanent" touring lineup).

The production on this record (done by Matt Wilson, older brother of the singer for Semisonic) is perfect—clean and crisp without being slick or over-produced. Oddly enough, the single "Which Way," for which the EP is named, is the weakest cut on the disc. A litany of information-age woes that is lyrically along the lines of Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire" or R.E.M.'s "It's the End of the World As We Know It," it seems a little forced and contrived, especially given the emotional honesty of the other songs on the record. The second track, "Tree Limb," is more representative of the tone of the rest of the disc, and is easily the best song of the five—straight-ahead rock with some killer hooks. "Haunt" is an eerily subdued number that could be about the ghost of a dead lover or simply the haunting memories of a true love that ended in a breakup. "Make It" is a bluesy grind whose music perfectly matches the themes of struggle and determination explored in the lyrics. The disc closes with "Older Woman," an adoring ode that starts out quietly but builds to a rousing finish.

If the new record can duplicate the songwriting and production shown on this EP, Magnet's next release should be impressive indeed. In the meantime, I highly recommend that you give this disc a listen.

Chris Pace

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