Telekinesis seems at times to be the name of a body of work, rather than a band. In fact, it is really a nom de plume for multi-instrumentalist Michael Benjamin Lerner, who has been the mastermind of the band, and has cycled his supporting musicians in and out. But despite the seemingly constant turnover of backing musicians in Telekinesis, the music remains consistently good so far, and the third album, Dormarion, shows that the band changes have not altered the overall sound of Telekinesis.
According to Merge’s website, Lerner planned to record his third album entirely on his own, but instead decided to enlist in the help of Spoon’s drummer, Jim Eno. Listening to the album, it is astonishing to think that only two guys recorded all of the tracks, and in only half a month’s time. However, this album is not the first time that Lerner has pushed himself to produce quickly. In fact, he is only twenty six years old, and has now already released three full length albums, in addition to a number of EPs.
Yet as interesting as the background for Lerner’s recordings are—or uninteresting, depending on how much you care about the intricacies of putting an album together—the most important aspect of Dormarion is that it brings out new and vibrant songs, while living up to the greatness and likeability of the past two albums from Telekinesis. This album takes the strengths of the past albums, and magnifies them. It is a display of Lerner’s unique ability to successfully alternate between upbeat, stand-alone pop-rock songs (such as “Empathetic People” and “Dark to Light”), and deeper songs that offer musical complexities (like “Ghosts and Creatures”). Remarkably, the album does not lose momentum during the switches, and the variety never seems to be forced. It is truly an album that can have you dancing one minute, and silently pondering your feelings the next, without feeling physically or psychologically unstable.
While Dormarion continues on with the musical strengths that made the last albums great, it is also a slight point of departure from the attitudes evident in past lyrics. This album still has its moments of sadness, but the lyrics do come anywhere near the moments of bitterness present in 12 Desperate Straight Lines, which came out when Lerner was dealing with a break-up and recovering from a car accident. Instead of portraying the upsetting sides of an otherwise normal existence, Dormarion shows Lerner’s emotional growth, departure from stark cynicism, and renewed hope in love (which is most clearly evident midway through the album, during “Lean on Me”).
RIYL: The Dodos, Gold Motel, Ambulance Ltd
Key Tracks: “Power Lines”, “Ghosts and Creatures”, and “Symphony”
Check out “Ghosts and Creatures” below: