Telekinesis – 12 Desperate Straight Lines

Rating: ★★★★☆

Telekinesis consists primarily of Michael Benjamin Lerner, who won over your attention from his first and self titled album. On 12 Desperate Straight Lines, he looks to keep you in his clutches, locking you in a steady sea of indie rock that will surely create a lasting adoration for this man and his craft.

Beginning with “You Turn Clear in the Sun,” Telekinesis picks up right where thy left off:  the crisp strumming of guitars immediately fill you with a swell of nostalgia for tracks form their last album like “Coast of Carolina.” In fact, these two songs are strikingly similar in that they both start with simplicity and then bust, with the crash of cymbals, into the airy and light sounds that this band has become synonymous with. Lerner’s intricate storytelling lyrics are back in full swing, and so are his borderline nasal-y vocals. However, the band seems to be in a slightly darker place lyrically, as Werner belts “I never loved you/ I’ve never loved anyone.”

This change can be felt instrumentally on the second song “Please Ask For Help,” which calls back on classic sound from the eighties with it’s trembling bass and guitars akin to that of Modern English. The drums punch harshly in the background while the guitar and Lerner echo in waves on the surface. Continuing this transition to darkness comes “50 Ways.” This song starts with a smidge of feedback and then some fairly grunge guitar that welcomes you into the song. However, Telekinesis knows their limits, and pulls back to their softer side, if only for a few seconds. The combination of soft to heavy rock fuses two drastically different textures of music and it works because Lerner’s voice bridges the gap between the two.

 If you listen to every track on 12 Desperate Straight Lines, you’ll be challenged to find a bad song. Each one is a fresh and snappy slice of what makes this band: rapid drumbeats, furious guitars, vital bass and wail of Lerner. By keeping the middle tracks relatively short, the band makes sure that they don’t become banal with their listeners; the only track after the third that pushes past the three-minute notch is the last. That being said, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t stop to admire those small songs. On “Country Lane,” my personal favorite song on the album, the band lures you in with the hooks of guitar, then coats their sound with distinct riffs of a higher guitar part, creating one of the albums finer moments.

Telekinesis has succeeded with this sophomore release in that they kept things simple: the tracks are moderately short and fitting, and the lyrics are sharp and witty. However, it’s not much of a jump from their previous album, which is not that problematic on this album, but could prove monotonous for this band if they don’t mix it up for their future releases.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/carcrash.mp3]

Download: Telekinesis – Car Crash [MP3]

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