Telekinesis, '12 Desperate Straight Lines' (Merge)

12 Desperate Straight Lines
Critical Mass
Release Date: February 15, 2011
Label: Merge

by Steve Kandell

Darker, more propulsive, and flexing weightier production than his ruddy-cheeked 2009 debut, the second full-length from Seattle's Michael Benjamin Lerner owes the extra power in its pop, perhaps antithetically, to heartbreak. "50 Ways" is an affirmation of Paul Simon's "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover," trading the latter's playfulness for a sinister thwack, while "Please Ask for Help" uses the Cure's Disintegration as its frowny touchstone. Upbeat sentiment is scarce, yet there's barely a downcast moment -- no insignificant trick -- and somewhere Alex Chilton nods his approval.

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