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12 Desperate Straight Lines

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Album Review

After working with his friend, producer Chris Walla, on Telekinesis' self-titled debut record, then recording an EP (2010’s Parallel Seismic Conspiracies) by himself, Michael Benjamin Lerner decided to go back to work with Walla on the band’s second album. While the debut had plenty of good songs, the over-stuffed and slick production sucked some of the air out of the sound. For 12 Desperate Straight Lines, the songs are still there, only this time some of the looseness of the self-produced sessions comes into play, and the end result ends up being a marked improvement. The energy level is higher, the songs are catchier, and it simply feels like a more assured and exciting record. The uptempo tracks like "Please Ask for Help" and "Car Crash" jump out of the speakers in a tangle of amped-up guitars, rumbling bass, and dancefloor-ready drum beats. Even though the mood is somewhat downcast lyrically, with a recent heartbreak being the main topic Lerner writes about, the energy rarely lags. The midtempo tracks in between the rockers have a less folky and more of a post-punk feel this time around. Some, like "Dirty Thing" and "Gotta Get It Right Now" (which sounds like a radio hit waiting to happen with its T. Rex boogie rhythms and singalong chorus) have a light-hearted pop bounce that was missing from the first album and is quite welcome here. On 12 Desperate Straight Lines, Lerner proves himself to be quite adept at creating really good, very energetic, and fun songs that hold together well as a complete listening experience, or which could be spun off as singles, or at least indie rock mixtape staples.


Formed: 2008 in Seattle, WA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Telekinesis is the songwriting vehicle of Michael Benjamin Lerner, whose music splits the difference between summery indie rock and buoyant power pop. Based in Seattle, Washington, Lerner handled most of the instrumental duties on his band's debut, Telekinesis!, which was produced by Death Cab for Cutie's Chris Walla and released in spring 2009. Telekinesis then launched a tour in support of the record, with auxiliary members Chris Staples, David Broecker, and Jonie Broecker filling out the lineup....
Full Bio
12 Desperate Straight Lines, Telekinesis
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