Telekinesis is both a band and a person. It’s taken Michael Benjamin Lerner, now a wizened, grizzled 26-year-old, four years to come to terms with this and understand what responsibilities it does and does not entail, although one would not, from listening to its/his previous two albums, 2009’s self-titled debut and 2011’s 12 Desperate Straight Lines, detect any hint of confusion or self-doubt, aside from the songs that were directly about confusion or self-doubt. His third album, Dormarion, is, then, in ways both practical and profound, the sound of a man figuring out exactly who he is. Also, it’s a total fucking hoot.
Lerner wrote the 12 songs that comprise Dormarion in early 2012—half at his home in West Seattle and half at his family’s house in the San Juan Islands—with the original intention of recording the album completely on his own. Instead, he road-tripped over the summer and made the record in two weeks with Spoon drummer Jim Eno in his Austin, TX studio, Public Hi-Fi. On Dormarion Lane, to be specific. “It’s a beautiful-sounding word, and if you Google it, nothing but this one tiny street comes up,” says Lerner, although this is obviously about to change. “No origin, no description. I can’t tell you what the word means. It’s like something from Lost.”
So there’s two drummers, and no one else, collaborating shoulder-to-shoulder on a musically adventurous album containing two centerpiece songs on which there are no drums whatsoever. The breakthrough, musically and otherwise, came with the eighth song written for the record, “Ghosts and Creatures,” a keyboard-driven, spacey, and darn near Goth turn that marks a conscious departure from his guitar-bass-drums power-pop racket. “That was the most unlike-me song I’d ever written.”
When you see Telekinesis perform this year, Lerner will be backed by Erik Walters of The Globes on guitar, Say Hi’s Eric Elbogen on bass, and Rebecca Cole of Wild Flag and The Minders on keyboards.