by Tarik Moody
Photo Credit: Denee Petracek/Courtesy of the artist
Simply put, the new Mikal Cronin album is pretty stellar. After spending some time touring with garage rock powerhouse Ty Segall, he’s proven that he can very well stand out on his own (even if there are some absolutely sick Segall guitar solos sprinkled throughout). These songs are all perfect musings on what it’s like to grow older and seek out true love, something practically everybody in their twenties can relate to.
The record offers a great mix of both acoustic and electric elements, often within the same song. This is best exemplified on the final track “Piano Mantra”, where the stripped down piano and string arrangement perfectly evolves into a heavier sound involving drums and electric guitar, something that can be fairly difficult to pull off. But there are so many catchy tunes throughout the rest of the nine tracks on MCII that excellently utilize a blend of acoustic guitar chords and that gritty distorted electric guitar so key to garage rock that it can be hard to pick out a stand out song. And when its all laid over Cronin’s sweet, sweet falsetto that would make Mariah Carey jealous, it’s really that much harder to choose. All the way from “Weight”, to “Change”, to “Turn Away”, he doesn't miss a beat. There’s even some interesting string solos on “Peace of Mind” and a piano solo on “Shout it Out” that aren't typically found on indie records like this one, but they truly work nonetheless. It’s a definite testament to the kid's talent.
As Cronin grows older, it should be interesting to see how, if at all, he resolves his inner turmoil and leaves this young-adulthood angst behind. Maybe it will simply grow into a more grizzled, middle-aged version of the same kind of thing: instead of wondering where his life will go, he’ll wonder where his life has gone. And with divorce on the rise and the economy in the state it’s in, maybe that won’t be such an odd message for his generation to connect with. Let’s just hope that the foreseeable future isn't that depressing.