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Telekinesis suffers from a lack of invention on Effluxion


Release date: 22 February 2019
24 February 2019, 15:45 Written by Cady Siregar
Michael Benjamin Lerner – aka Telekinesis – loves Teenage Fanclub.

He loves Teenage Fanclub so much that he got invited to tour with the Scottish indie heroes in 2017, which is a perfect circle as Lerner had been covering the band’s song “The Concept” for years. Lerner’s father is a Beatles obsessive, and you can hear the glimmer of a piano sample of Band on the Run’s “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five” on “Suburban Streetlight Drunk,” off of Telekenises latest full-length release Effluxion.

On Effluxion, Lerner’s influences are clear. He wears the bands and musicians he so loves and has been so influenced by on his sleeve. The fifth full-length album that Lerner has recorded as Telekinesis offers nothing new to the landscape of the modern American indie-rock scene, and it is all effortlessly inoffensive lo-fi guitar music that would be nice to soundtrack an extended afternoon car drive, maybe. It’s an album that Lerner has recorded several times, if not five times already, but that doesn’t take away from its pleasantness as a record. It certainly evokes warm, feel-good tones. Tracks, however pleasant, such as “Like Nothing” or “Set a Course” could easily have been found on Lerner’s earlier releases. Effluxion doesn’t ask questions, or make you want to ask questions, or answer any that you might have had. The only question you can ask of Effluxion is what the title means. Effluxion is like a cacophony of everything that Lerner loves woven into a 10-track album. He no longer enlists the help of Death Cab for Cutie guitarist Chris Walla or Spoon’s Jim Eno as producers, but their ghosts still linger. It’s charming, but it’s a record that Lerner has written before.

To his credit, Lerner is aware of this. “The one criticism I’ve gotten throughout my career is that I’m not trying to do anything inventive, and my response is always, ‘I’m not trying to do that at all,” he stated. “What you’re hearing is me regurgitating my favourite records.”

Which is perfectly fair enough.

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