Mikal Cronin

III

Written by: BV on 23/06/2015 19:25:09

Mikal Cronin, first and foremost known as Ty Segall’s partner in crime via his duties as touring bassist, is somewhat expectedly also a rather accomplished songwriter in his own right. Through his self-titled debut and the aptly titled follow-up “II”, Cronin cemented a flair for rampant bursts of garage-rock rampage mixed with a tenderness befitting of even the most accomplished singer-songwriters out there. It’s especially on the latter part of the craft he has piqued my interest and with his third outing, “III”, I was hoping it would be a side Cronin would nurture to perfection.

With the bombastic opening of “Turn Around” there’s one safe thing to say; everything is bigger. It might be down to the fact that there is a vast array of different orchestral strings present on the track (and the album), or it might be the rather grandiose tendencies which Cronin have seemingly adopted in his songwriting. The lyrics nod towards an endearing type of self-reflection whilst being punctuated by a wall of polished fuzz guitars. It might sound rather contradictory, but the amount of fuzz present on tracks like “Turn Around” or the following “Made My Mind Up” is in no way there to add any sort of aggression to the tracks. These fuzzy tendencies are as neatly polished as the rest of the soundscape to create that certain aura of grandiosity that seems to emanate throughout “III”.

It is, however, something which also plagues “III” as a whole. It’s all nice and well, really, but to be entirely honest Cronin has polished his craft to such an extent that the amount of nerve that could previously be heard throughout his work has all but vanished in favor of a pursuit of the perfect, highly ambitious mix of pop-like songwriting and larger-than-life soundscapes melded into a somewhat fast-paced album fueled by lyrics dealing with growing up among various other themes. “V) Different” is a display of Cronin at his most vulnerable; only backed by the lushly arranged strings as subtle layering, Cronin’s voice and lyrics drive the song forward on what is probably the most endearing, although not most immediate track of the record. Unlike many of the other tracks, “V) Different” tends to stick around in my mind long after the first few listens, whilst tracks like “Made My Mind Up” and “I’ve Been Loved” – however immediately alluring they are – have a tendency of pushing themselves into the back of my consciousness, ending up as vaguely memorable songs that I can only truly recall when listening to them.

From a production point of view, Cronin has easily surpassed himself with “III”. It’s a highly pleasing listen all the way through and the mix itself is so meticulously structured that not a single detail ever vanishes into oblivion. However, these polished tendencies have also affected the songwriting to such an extent that there doesn’t seem to be much at stake here. It’s all very nice sounding, but I don’t feel like the album invites me to keep listening to it repeatedly. It might not be Mikal Cronin’s greatest album, but it is most certainly his most accomplished (and ambitious) work as an arranger and composer.

Download: Turn Around, Made My Mind Up, V) Different
For The Fans Of: Ty Segall, White Fence, Mac DeMarco
Listen: facebook.com

Release date 04.05.2015
Merge Records


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