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Merging of species

| March 4, 2011 | 0 Comments

Pre-SXSW, two of Merge Records’ non-Grammy winning, power-poppish heroes arrive to state their case for next year’s awards season.

Not so much a band as an outlet for singer/songwriter Michael Benjamin Lerner, Telekinesis’ second full-length, 12 Desperate Straight Lines, serves up a dozen earnest three-or-so-minute pop tunes that, while altogether a pleasant enough listening experience, even midway at its power pop confection best on cuts like “Dirty Thing” and “Car Crash” never quite delivers the knockout, memory-etching hook of power pop at its best.  As the liner notes attest, Lerner drew a lot of inspiration from the “dirty bass lines” of The Cure, and indeed  both “Please Ask For Help” and “Country Lane” in particular sound as if gifts given Lerner from an early career Robert Smith.  But cuts like the Paul Simon revisiting “50 Ways” and “Fever Chill” – as ambitious as they might be, songwriting-wise – serve only to distract/detract leaving one, in the end, thinking it’s all good but not great.

— David C. Eldredge

As the brainchild of Stuart McLamb, The Love Language’s initial outing was the epitome of scruffy, lo-fi,  bedroom-pop catharsis. For Libraries, McLamb broadens his sonic scope and the result is a rich, fully realized album bursting with lush orchestration and swirling sonic depth. Songs are still compact and deeply personal, but the ornate details – reverb-soaked bells, brittle guitar lines, liquid organ – add delirious complexity. McLamb turns down the fuzz-on-the-needle aesthetic, especially the wheezy vocal distortion, and amps up the exhilarating exuberance. From the whimsical, folksy charm of “Summer Dust” to the malt-shoppe, sugar rush of “Heart To Tell,” and the ricocheting rhythm in “Horophones,” songs are bathed in luscious reverb, and this silky sheen reflects the shimmering pop magic bubbling through these songs. (Friday@Schubas.)

— Patrick Conlan

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Category: Stage Buzz, Weekly

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