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Telekinesis - Domarion

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Artist: Telekinesis

Album: Domarion

Label: Merge

Review date: Apr. 9, 2013

Michael Benjamin Lerner has entered a very different place in his life. When last we saw Lerner, the creative force behind Telekinesis, he was expressing his thoughts on a relationship’s end with a wave of severe bitterness on 12 Desperate Straight Lines. But as tides ebb and flow, Lerner’s emotional output on Telekinesis albums go through cycles. And both musically and lyrically, Dormarion showcases Lerner at his lovestruck peak.

Even his debut album, Telekinesis!, while full of poppy gems that bop and weave, starts with “Rust,” an apology to his partner about his fear of admitting that he may have been overcome with that “L-O-V-E” word. Fear turns to outright disgust on 12 Desperate Lines where he spits out barbs like “I never loved you. I never loved anyone.”

So, while heartbreak fades with time, it’s still mildly shocking to hear songs like Dormarion’s “Lean On Me,” a story of a couple leaving the world behind (together) that’s as typical a love song as its title suggests. In fact, the lyrics on Dormarion range from Hallmark card poetry (“You grow more beautiful with every second,” in “Little Hill”) to thinly veiled but more original metaphors ("When we were kids, I could swear we were power lines.")

Thankfully, Lerner has multiple sounds and nuances for his lovesickness. If the rest of the album were as borderline sappy as “Lean on Me,” Dormarion would be unlistenable. Thankfully, Lerner proves elsewhere that he can do “in love” just as as well as he channels heartbreak. Songs like "Empathetic People" and "Wires" are electric and fast; a constant drum beat propels the former and gritty Superchunk-esque riffs allow the latter to shine. When he’s not traveling at breakneck speed, he’s apparently dancing. "Ever True" and "Ghosts and Creatures" employ electronic beats, shimmery melodies and a drum machine, evoking happy nights on the dance floor. In fact, the three-song combination of "Empathetic People," "Ghosts and Creatures" and "Wires" is as strong as any set on a pop album this year.

There’s an unfortunate trend amongst music listeners who find an artist, relate to them at their low point and then begrudge them a positive change. It’s cringe-worthy to hear people say things like, "I liked them better when they were depressed/drunk/crazy, etc." but yet, that attitude prevails. Dormarion not only stands as a celebration of a personal triumph, but a creative one. The songwriting is just as strong as anything in Lerner’s output and much like emotional nadirs, emotional zeniths also fade. Lerner’s moment in the sun is as fun for the listener as it is for him.

By Valerie Paschall

Other Reviews of Telekinesis

12 Desperate Straight Lines

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