Telekinesis offers comfort with throwback indie rock on 12 Desperate Straight Lines

Tired of all the weird experimental indie music out today? Sick of the synth and the slowly panging pianos underneath lyrics veiled behind shadowy metaphors? Maybe you long for the days of fast-paced, upbeat indie rock with catchy hooks and simple melodies. Maybe you replay your old Matt & Kim or Strokes records with your trendy 2000s-era giant headphones and sigh.

Well sigh no more (note: not Sigh No More)! Seattle-based indie rocker Michael Benjamin Lerner, better known as Telekinesis, has released his second record full of those infectious indie tunes you still hold dear. Lerner picks up where indie music left years ago on 12 Desperate Straight Lines, offering a very similar brand of catchy pop tunes with a relentless kicking rhythm and head-bobbing hooks, but with an updated sound for the new decade. It’s not music you sit and think about, it’s music you get up and dance to (or annoyingly tap your fingers to if you’re at work. Apologies to all my coworkers).

Lyrical content is nothing too deep, here. We’re talking love, lack thereof and how that makes you feel. The lead single, “Car Crash” breaks it down: “It’s a chemical reaction based upon attraction / Will I die alone? / You know I’m so concerned / You know I’m so confused.” GOD, Lerner, preach right to my own awful painful paranoia why don’t you? The great thing about the simplicity of his love songs is that everybody can relate. And if you can’t relate, you’re just a heartless bastard who shouldn’t enjoy anything.

What Lerner gives us on 12 Desperate Straight Lines is nothing new. His style isn’t fresh and it’s not on the “artistic” side of things. But it’s one of the most comforting records I’ve heard in a while. Tracks like “Car Crash” and “Gotta Get It Right Now” strike me as the perfect throwbacks to that simpler, power-chord driven pop indie that I grew up with. It might not be new and artistic and challenging, but I think that’s what I like the most about it.

12 Desperate Straight Lines is out now. Buy it at Merge.

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