Telekinesis is a golden retriever. Singer-mastermind Michael Benjamin Lerner doesn’t want much from you. He just wants to you to throw the metaphorical stick of approval, and he will return with his no-frills Seattle emo-tinged power-pop. Or a dead bird. My family’s golden retriever would bring back dead birds a lot.
Dormarion is one of those joints where the vocals ride sidecar to the music. (Ever noticed that’s usually the case when the lyrics are actually good?) Lerner’s performance style is best classified as “Ford Focus-eque” — reliable, good at what it does, and possessing zero flash. He warbles incisive poetry that wafts through textures and melodies resembling Ben Kweller (“Power Lines”) or a more coherent My Bloody Valentine (on the reverb-happy “You Take It Slowly”), depending on his mood. Heck, sometimes Telekinesis draws from The Human League’s synth well, like on “Ghosts and Creatures” and “Ever True.”
There’s a lot of freedom seeping through Dormarion, or at least there’s a lot of yearning for it. From “Power Lines” (“Run down the tracks like a bat out of hell/Don’t mess up your hair, because we’re destined to fail”) to the reckless abandon of “Dark to Light” (“You don’t want to wait/You just want to run away”), Lerner sings of caged birds and dreams of flight — both doomed and not.
Telekinesis’ latest evokes another Seattleite’s recent work: Ben Gibbard’s Former Lives. That album seemed very much a scrapbook of music that the artist wanted to record for personal reasons. Dormarion has a similar quality: There’s not much in the way of cohesion, but there’s plenty of pure intention.