it’s a chemical reaction based upon attraction

For Telekinesis’s second full-length release, 12 Desperate Straight Lines, frontman Michael Benjamin Lerner has again teamed up with producer Chris Walla for another stellar album. Where a long-distance relationship and quick production inspired Telekinesis!, 12 Desperate Straight Lines was borne of separation and discontent. Don’t let the surrounding circumstances scare you off, though – the album is highly listenable and has all the catchy hooks of its predecessor.

In addition to reuniting with Walla, Lerner brought back the players from interim EP Parallel Seismic Conspiracies – Cody Votolato [Blood Brothers] and Jason Narducy [Robert Pollard Band]. The songs are still recorded to tape, but the sound is a little richer, namely due to Lerner’s new love of fuzz-heavy bass.

12 Desperate Straight Lines is an all-around solid album, weaving lovable lyrics through the changing sounds, threading together beachy distortion (imagine Nirvana had been cast in a 60s-beach-party-movie remake for “Palm of Your Hand”) with ethereal, echoing “Patterns” and the aggressive “Fever Chill”. The first three songs, though, are the ones you won’t be able to stop listening to on repeat.

“You Turn Clear in the Sun” starts off with just Lerner’s voice and an acoustic guitar, but things quickly pick up with fuzzy bass, drums, bells and other sonic flourishes. Lerner is quick to air the dirty laundry – “I never loved you, I’ve never loved anyone,”  but despite the bummer the relationship turned out to be it’s an upper of a song. Telekinesis channels The Cure with track two’s guitars, and before long you’ll be dancing like the orange-shirted Peanuts kid and reveling in the sentiment of “you’ve got the salt / and I’ve got the wound / but all you got to do is ask.” Topping out the first quarter of the album is “50 Ways”, one of the best songs to emerge of late. Nodding to Paul Simon, Lerner calls him out by name and Telekinesis mimics Simon’s track in structure, but takes things in a darker direction. The interplay of plucked guitar and the grungy grind of the chorus is perfectly balanced and leaves listeners happy to wallow in their own obsessions of lovers who left – “I try to focus on anything else, but I keep on hearing your name.”

12 Desperate Straight Lines drops 02.15.11.
Get more info on Telekinesis here.
Download “Car Crash“.

replace my heart with a machine

Michael Benjamin Lerner’s project, Telekinesis, is hitting the road and bringing a new EP with them. At a little over ten minutes, the band (now comprising Lerner, Jason Narducy [Robert Pollard Band] and Cody Votolato [Blood Brothers]) fleshes out Telekinesis!‘s “Calling All Doctors”, offers up a couple new songs, and covers two more.

“Non-Toxic” has a nice 90s alt feel to it, and “Dirty Thing” is an instant like with its staccato, prancing piano and dreamy guitar. The covers on PSC stay fairly close to the originals. Lerner could have easily penned Guided By Voices’s “Game of Pricks“, and Telekinesis keeps all the punk of Warsaw’s (Joy Division before they were Joy Division) “The Drawback” while pushing the drums even closer to the explosive quality of machine-gun fire.

Parallel Seismic Conspiracies dropped 08.31.10.
Listen to the album at the Merge Records site.