It seems all too recently since “12 Desperate Straight Lines” came out. However, that was 2011, and this month, frontman Michael Lerner decided to welcome spring with his third studio album, Dormarion (April 2 via Merge Records). It’s a lot of music to take in, as the album consists of 12 tracks in under 45 minutes. Throughout you can expect to hear a lot of what you’d usually expect of “Telekinesis”: toe-tapping, pop-rock tracks that simply put you in a plain good mood. They’re the songs that you walk around campus to. They’re auditory fuel right before a huge test or presentation.
Dormarion starts out strong with “Power Lines,” a clever metaphor for the connection between locked lips. It’s upbeat, bright and leads way for an even louder second track, “Empathetic People.” Here, Lerner experiments with a genre I’d like to coin as “pop angst,” otherwise known as purposely anger-driven yet effortlessly cute. The single off the album, “Ghosts and Creatures,” follows. It seems to be the outlier to the album as a whole. It is more of a direct message from Lerner, a call to escape loneliness as he delivers in a verse, “Yes, I need a friend/ seeing things in black and white again.” It’s an impressive experimental turn from what “Telekinesis” is used to doing.
Dormarion also slows it down a bit for listeners later on with “Symphony,” which seems to almost lead way for the following track, “Dark to Light.” It’s almost as if the track title and song itself pick up “Symphony.” Perhaps Lerner intended the two to work in conjunction with each other. The last track that seems to stray from “Telekinesis’s” roots is “Ever True.” It plays with ’80s synth pop and immediately you can envision the bright highlighter pinks and greens that practically ooze from the lyrics of the song. A catchy electric keyboard riff accompanies this feel: surprised? The album as a whole is characteristic of what “Telekinesis” is good at doing: creating toe-tapping pop rock.
However, it is done in such a crisp, clear manner that we don’t really ask ourselves, “Why doesn’t he just try something different?” He does with a few tracks and that’s all that really matters. It is Lerner’s precision with this genre that makes the album a great follow up to “12 Desperate Straight Lines.”
The album takes a good amount of turns with upbeat and happy to upbeat and angsty — if that appears to be a difference for some. For the purpose of “Telekinesis’s” genre, it certainly is. He basically sticks to his roots, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The man is talented too; while he may have a full band with him live, Lerner actually sings and plays a majority of the instruments in the studio when he records. We can add some credibility to Dormarion for that, right? A perfect way to start spring, the album is great soundtrack for your car rides to the beach.
Recommended: Dormarion’s talent and ability to produce a great pop soundtrack for the summer.