12 Desperate Straight Lines (Merge)

ACL Music Fest Saturday Reviews


12 Desperate Straight Lines (Merge)

The title of Telekinesis' second album, 12 Desperate Straight Lines, sounds like a recovery program for struggling songwriters. In the past two years, Michael Benjamin Lerner lost his band, van, and the girlfriend that inspired the long-distance romance of Telekinesis' self-titled 2009 debut. His strength lies in the ability to channel such circumstances into power-pop nuggets with a heartfelt immediacy and ear-worm melodies, as in standouts "Car Crash" and opener "You Turn Clear in the Sun." While he's guided by obvious voices – Robert Pollard sideman Jason Narducy handles bass here (see "Palm of Your Hand," "I Got You") – returning producer Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie helps expand Lerner's four-track range. "I Cannot Love You," in particular, boasts a bottom-heavy, glam-rock groove with irresistible swagger. There are throwaways, but 12 Desperate Straight Lines moves Telekinesis in the right direction. (11:45am, Google+ stage)


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