You know a record is good when after having one song on repeat all day, you eventually start drifting away towards other songs to only come back to that first one and it still holds up good. And with every new favorite song you realize that it is no longer about ranking a song as a favorite but ranking an entire collection, a scrapbook of portraits, an entire album as one of your favorites of the year and if not all-time. And when the songs are just chock full of imagery and optimism in both lyric and chord, you too can start to feel better about your own life, especially when each song starts to hold just as much meaning to your own young life as it does to its writer. And 31 minutes the record ends and you just go back to the beginning. One revolution down, and a lifetime to go.
Michael Benjamin Lerner, he is Telekinesis on record. Along with some guy named Chris Walla, they went in to a studio in their native Seattle and pieced together a strange and happy tale of innocence and love one song by one song at a time. It is one of most honest, one of the happiest records I have heard in a long time. Lerner keeps talking of Japan, and not just in the first single "Tokyo", but in the bookings of a flight to a foreign land in "Awkward Kisser" to moments later being whisked away to said "Foreign Room". He is a man obsessed with a land like I and am sure many others have been obsessed with girls they always wanted to be with but never got to be with. I say that because for all of his musings of the far away land, he has never been. Not even once.
"Awkward Kisser" was that song I mentioned at the very first sentence, the song that was on repeat for an entire day. Outside of its immediate hooks and beat that you think you'd be better hearing at a sock hop then a modern day club, it's just so short, all of 105 seconds long. Like the great Bob Pollard before him, he is able to capture an entire moment in the formula of verse-chorus-verse-chorus and end scene. And that chorus is so perfect to me: Lerner's vocals and bass drum freshly full of reverb sounding epic and glorious. The melody ever so catchy as he declares the simple line "And when I woke up / you were by my side". I could play that part on repeat for hours and sure that's just the hopeless romantic in me coming out but it does sound dreamy all-in-all.
With this self-titled debut, Lerner has made not only an album that could be about his everyday escapes and daydreams in some kind of Orwellian Brazil type of way, but an album each and every one of its listeners can identify themselves with. After many repeated listens when I started to pay attention to his words, I realized he wrote in a way more people need to just forward and up front. No metaphors, no allegories, no hidden meanings. Blunt. Honest. Real. It's that album that for me we'll always carry a special place in my heart because of the people (er, person) in my life and how it just reminds me of them and how it is an album that will resonate with many people in that demograpic of "I remember the first time I heard/played/saw Telekinesis!" How I can place myself in their kitchen as I played it for them for the very first time and how when the closing number "I Saw Lightning" came on I, too, became honest and blunt. I told them this song, just Lerner barring his soul stripped to his voice and an acoustic guitar, was a dedication from me and that the words pretty much summed up the way I felt about them.
I wanna care for you when you are all alone
Sit inside our house and unplug all our phones
Watching raindrops stream down on our windowsill
Let's be in love
At least I've got this record to be in love with, yes?
Download: "Awkward Kisser" [mp3] // [Buy Here]