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Telekinesis: Dormarion (Album Review)


Telekinesis has always had pure pop swing in its music, a certain melodic sensibility that harkened back to the ’60s, no matter how presentation varied in terms of instrumentation or fidelity. After its self-titled debut, Michael Benjamin Lerner’s sophomore album as Telekinesis, 2011’s 12 Desperate Straight Lines, added a bit of a heavier rock and roll edge, best exemplified by songs such as the scathing, Hüsker Dü-esque “50 Ways” and the bass-heavy and driving “I Cannot Love You.” But with Dormarion, the third Telekinesis album, Lerner has incorporated a bit of everything. “Power Lines” is a Beatles-esque melody with Cheap Trick power pop guitars. “Empathetic People” is raucous in punk rock swagger. “Wires” has an almost ’80s New Wave feel, heavy on synthesized sounds and repetition. “Lean on Me” is a simple pop ditty. “Symphony” is an acoustic ballad. And “Ever True” pulsates with electronic sounds. Surprisingly, in all this, Dormarion doesn’t sound particularly schizophrenic, as Lerner’s musical explorations are all tied together by his distinct vocals and an overarching tunefulness. However, at times, one gets the feeling that Lerner has already made this album. Dormarion, for all its strengths, sounds like a combination of Telekinesis!, 12 Desperate Straight Lines, and 2010’s stopgap EP, Parallel Seismic Conspiracies. Be assured, this is not a bad thing, but we’ve been here before with Telekinesis. The songwriting is sharp, the tunes memorable, and the spirit there in droves. But, for better or worse, new ground is not paved.