In a month of blizzards that blanket my house in snow and ice, it’s hard to feel like the Spring is ever going to come back – let alone the Summer. Yet, two minutes into Telekinesis! – the 2009 release by the band Telekinesis – and it’s all sunshine, road trips, and slush puppies. The band – whose only permanent member is Michael Benjamin Lerner – writes smart, hook-filled pop that Michael describes as “heart on my sleeve” type songs. The result for the listener is pure joy… it is, I feel, fundamentally impossible not to feel good while listening to Telekinesis.
Following on from 2009’s critically-acclaimed Telekinesis!, the band are releasing 12 Desperate Straight Lines on Feb. 15th. The band’s page on Merge has a really nice description of the genesis of this project:
The result of all of this is 12 Desperate Straight Lines, twelve new songs of heartache, anger, and even a little hopefulness. With lyrics like “I cannot love you” and “I never loved you,” it’s not hard to guess that this is a breakup album, but Michael’s indomitable optimism shines through in the infectiousness of the music and in the final words of the final track, “Gotta Get It Right Now”: “And it’s alright, if it means nothing / Cuz it meant something, anyway.”
Unlike so many “Summer” records, Telekinesis put together a collection of songs that run the gamut of emotions that attend a part of the year. The joy, confusion, and uncertainty that all come with a time of seemingly limitless possibilities and no particular plans. Yet, despite this, the songs themselves are focused, warm, and comforting. Much like the best parts of The Cure’s oeuvre, Telekinesis can make any bad situation seem beautiful… and the happy ones seem positively syrupy – but, you know, in a good way.
Let’s stop talking around it, and get right down to the music. Here’s a taste from 12 Desperate Straight Lines – “You Turn Clear in the Sun:”
And here’s “Coast of Carolina” from Telekinesis!:
Here’s a great Tiny Desk Concert from NPR:
And a nice intimate performance of “I Saw Lightning” from Telekinesis!: