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Mikal Cronin’s self-titled solo debut was one of those albums that took a while to creep up on me. What was initially just another innocuous indie-pop record has turned into a much-loved favourite with its mix of ‘90s power pop and ‘60s psychedelia. Cronin has an ability to write carefree, intuitive melodies that get stuck in your head for weeks at a time, and with the benefit of hindsight I feel the four stars I gave it at the time undervalued its brilliance a little, but we live and learn.
This time round he’s got buddies like Ty Segall (in whose band Cronin plays bass) and Thee Oh Sees’ secret weapon Petey Dammit stepping up to add some guitar sounds, as well as a few songs with K. Dylan Edrich on viola and violin. The stomping sun-bleached hook-soaked aesthetic is kind of somewhere between Woods and the Dandy Warhols, but with a streak of English pastoral psychedelia, Beach Boys harmonies and a Beatles-esque ear for melody which should not be underestimated.
Ty Segall is an inevitable comparison of course, and it’s hard to avoid the similarities to his ‘60s-informed guitar pop, but Cronin is a contemporary and not an imitator, and in many ways I think his warm and relentlessly catchy sound seems more assured of widespread success than his more prolific homeboy. Songs like ‘Turn Away’ and opener ‘Weight’ are mega-hits just waiting to happen. Right now the Segall/Cronin alliance at full force, churning out mindblowingly great records seemingly on a whim. If you’re into all this ‘60s garage-inspired indie rock that’s happening at the moment, this is an essential addition to your collection.
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