The word “telekinesis” is defined as the power to move something without touching it. Isn’t that exactly what good music is supposed to do? Move us (in a good way) without touching us (because, well, it can’t)? Precisely. Good one, Michael Lerner. Very punny.
Lerner’s latest release under said band name, Telekinesis, is 12 Desperate Straight Lines. I’m of the conviction that good albums can teach us something. 12 Desperate Straight Lines teaches us that breaking up sucks (and of course we knoooow), but breaking up doesn’t have to sound like it does. There is no beginning to love, there is no end to love, but there was a moment to love, the moment when it ended, and this moment, well, sucked. The album also teaches its listeners a LOT of things about Lerner’s ex-girlfriend: she’s lazy (“I Cannot Love You”), she’s transparent (“You Turn Clear in the Sun”), she’s a disaster (“Dirty Thing”), she reminds him of summer (uh, every song), she had him hook, line, and sinker (“Palm of Your Hand”). And the list goes on and on and on, and I am just so glad this girl isn’t me, because having the minutiae of our faults known to thousands, even millions of listeners should be terrifying to all of us.
It also has to be said an album this personal in scope runs the risk of just being too much. Who wants to listen to someone’s heartbreak being detailed in all its excruciating detail? Perhaps when it’s countered with upbeat, poppy guitar lines, finger-tapping drum-beats and sugary-sweet harmonies. That’s what makes the difference on 12 Desperate Straight Lines. With a “sounds good, feels bad” approach, Telekinesis moves us to understand Lerner’s plight without pity nor enjoyment, allowing us to enjoy music while musing over why we love who we love when we love them. That was the point, right?
– Fiona Hanly, host of SWEET’n’FLO, Thursdays 8-9am