Telekinesis – 12 Desperate Straight Lines

written by: February 21, 2011
Telekinesis - 12 Desperate Straight Lines album cover Release Date: February 15, 2011

★★★★☆

Just when the typical definition of indie music seemed to give way to chillwave, aqua crunk  and whatever other genres were invented to accompany the electronic overthrow that was 2010, Seattle-based Telekinesis steps in with a healthy dose of sinfully catchy power pop.

The band’s sophomore release 12 Desperate Straight Lines is relentless with hooks as Michael Benjamin Lerner ventures out for round two after a bout with vertigo, a broken down van and with an entirely new backing band. Despite setbacks that may have sent him packing toward a self-depreciating solitude, Lerner’s songwriting prevailed. In classic indie form, 12 Desperate Straight Lines chronicles a seemingly tragic love life backed by joyful, buzzing guitars – the modern answer to the Get Up Kids.

By taking things back to the basics of indie, Telekinesis presents a can’t-get-out-of-your-head experience that reminds music fans not to take everything so seriously.

12 Desperate Straight Lines is delivered with lightning speed, giving listeners no time to rest between the short tracks. The infectious nature of the album is owed in large part to the tracks’ brevity, which gives just enough time to show grit, but avoids the point of self-indulgence. Even when Telekinesis turns to its darker side, a sense of urgency remains that keeps the album moving along where so many others linger.

Telekinesis recognizes it is not necessarily a band that can epically jam along and play to the member’s strengths by keeping it short and sweet.

“You Turn Clear in the Sun” begins the album with an impossibly bright tone that carries through the rest of the record, particularly in unapologetic pop nuggets like “I Cannot Love You” and “Car Crash.” Lerner takes brooding guitar undertones from The Cure on songs like “Please Ask for Help” and “Fever Chill,” which offer a new level of indie recall. The borrowed tones work well to refine the super shiny exterior Lerner is working with and is a successful homage to the kings of heartbreak.

Admittedly, Telekinesis suffers a bit when the guitars turn weepy as things go from bouncy commiseration to melodramatic, or uncharacteristically¬† electronic in the vein of Death Cab For Cutie. Yet, there is nothing wrong with music’s electronic tendencies – it is a trend for a reason! But the more audiences invest in that idea, the further music pulls away from a simple guitar/bass/drums set up.

Telekinesis keeps with traditional indie roots. Faced with today’s technology obsession, it is rare to be able to say that a band managed to keep electronics out of the equation. But 12 Desperate Straight Lines is a three-cheer return to the origins of indie music that gives hope for a stronger reliance on simpler ingredients.

Telekinesis – 12 Desperate Straight Lines tracklist

  1. “You Turn Clear in the Sun”
  2. “Please Ask for Help”
  3. “50 Ways”
  4. “I Cannot Love You”
  5. “Dirty Thing”
  6. “Car Crash”
  7. “Palm of Your Hand”
  8. “I Got You”
  9. “Fever Chill”
  10. “Country Lane”
  11. “Patterns”
  12. “Gotta Get It Right Now”