Prolific garage rock character and Ty Segall associate Mikal Cronin returns with his third proper solo record, its properness signified by the official-sounding title MCIII. It is also ‘proper solo’ in another sense, in that Cronin himself plays virtually every scrap of sound here himself, with the exception of a string quartet. Whaddaguy.
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There it sat in my house, barely played, untouched unloved. My dad had raved about Mikal Cronin’s second album ‘MCII’ yet it did absolutely nothing for me apart from reminding me on a couple of occasions of the Lemonheads so it got returned and I mentally marked Cronin down as another one of those much-praised artists that I didn’t ‘get’.
This is his third album and he’s going to continue marking them MC numerals isn’t he? Opener ‘Turn Around’ bursts out the stereo on a wave of strummed acoustic guitars and leaping strings. It’s immediate, it’s tuneful and wants to be loved. Despite his friendships with the likes of Ty Segall and Thee Oh Sees, Cronin strikes me as a much more mainstream singer-songwriter. The breezy melodies on this album are much more aligned to those of Ron Sexsmith, Teenage Fanclub and dare I say, Tom Petty. ‘Made My Mind Up’ is a bouncy piece of pop rock marred by an unneccessary busy guitar part and honky tonk piano whilst ‘Say’ is like an exuberant War on Drugs.
The final two tracks on the first side are both melancholic acoustic laments before the whole of the second side is taken over by ‘Circle’ a five part suite based upon his time living in the Pacific Northwest which veers from massive Jonathan Wilson styled ballads (‘Alone’) to the return to a more garagey sound on ‘Gold’ and ‘Ready’ to e style jangle pop on ‘Control’ one of the album’s best moments. There is no doubt that Cronin is a fine practitioner of tuneful slacker pop that won’t make you think too hard and this is a whimsical, varied and at times ambitious effort.
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