Out February 22 on Merge Records, the fifth full-length album Michael Benjamin Lerner has recorded as Telekinesis is perfect, unfussy power pop—romantic and hopeful and skittish and fresh and familiar, with hooks in all the right places. Its title, Effluxion, comes from the Latin term meaning “to flow” and captures the spirit in which the album was made: hooks flow in, hooks flow out.
After Lerner largely traded guitars and drums for moodier synthesizers and drum machines on 2015’s Ad Infinitum—more OMD than GBV—Scottish indie-pop gods Teenage Fanclub invited Lerner on board as a touring member in 2017. In addition to this being genie-lamp wish fulfillment for a devoted acolyte (see: Telekinesis’ cover of “The Concept” and also pretty much everything Telekinesis has ever recorded), playing those songs every night with his heroes brought him back to known pleasures.
Effluxion is, in the purest way, a back-to-basics album—not just in its reaffirmation of the sound and style that made Lerner an indie wunderkind a decade ago at age 22, but in the way it was created. Using the same now-discontinued MacBook microphone he used to record his earliest tracks, he holed up in the basement of his West Seattle home and put the album together piece by piece over the past two years, playing every instrument. While previous albums had former Death Cab for Cutie guitarist Chris Walla (who discovered and championed Telekinesis’ demos) and Spoon’s Jim Eno serving as producers and sounding boards and sidemen and general voices of authority and experience, Lerner wanted to do this one entirely on his own—a singular vision that has resulted in the purest, most confident Telekinesis album yet.