Michael Benjamin Lerner has officially managed to musically steal my heart – but in a too-calm-and-cool-for-school kind of way. His voice can only be described as what falling asleep in a moving vehicle must sound like, with sounds that stay true to his Seattle roots, sending you to a state of ’90s rock nostalgia – without all the ripped jeans.
While under the moniker Telekinesis, Lerner has released a few indie gems since 2008, and Dormarion is no exception. His 2009 LP, Telekinesis! was produced, engineered, and mixed by Death Cab for Cutie genius and guitarist, Chris Walla. He’s since independently released a few incredible EPs, as well as his acclaimed LP, 12 Desperate Straight Lines, under Merge Records. Dormarion, however, offers an abundance of softer yet stronger content, even with Walla’s absence.
Released in early April, Dormarion’s track list is graced with Lerner’s sweet tenor vocals juxtaposed with high-powered rock anthems like ‘Laissez-faire’ and ‘Little Hill’; each of which immediately send you to a state of uncontrollable head-banging and sing-alonging, due to his addictive melodies and soft tones. Then there are the typical Telekinesis staples, like ‘You Take It Slowly’, ‘Lean on Me’ and ‘Power Lines’ (the opening track) that start with light tones and calming melodies leading into infectious guitar riffs and explosive drums; teasing you from lightly tapping your foot to full-on throwing your head back.
Stand-out tracks include the emotive ‘Symphony’ where Lerner does a complete 180 as he abandons the amps and drum machines, concentrating on personal lyrics coming from his light, soft vocals. Much like a bittersweet lullaby, he sings: “You are the notes coming out of my throat / Like I’m reading a book that you read.” Then there are ‘Ever True’ and ‘Ghosts and Creatures’; Dormarion’s eighties throwbacks, reminiscent of New Order and Depeche Mode, expose Telekinesis’ ability to – dare I say it – make us dance. Just watch out for ‘Island #4’, though, as it may be the one track you refuse to take off repeat.