Mikal Cronin
MCII


4.5
superb

Review

by PorkchopExpress USER (37 Reviews)
May 7th, 2013 | 35 replies


Release Date: 05/07/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Until next time, Winter.

Living in NW Ohio, winters used to get really rough growing up. Especially when you have Seasonal Affective Disorder. Over the last ten years or so, they've become way more mild and easier to cope with. This year was one of the first winters in a long time that felt like a winter from my childhood. It was gloomy, snowy, and bitterly cold. Most of all, it was a long one. September and October were unseasonably cold, and until just a few days ago it seemed to be refusing to let go. In fact, I've found myself casting an untrusting eye at the outdoors because I had refused to accept that it was over. It's always great to have a perfectly-timed release for an album to be the soundtrack of summer. And as much as I love the new Phoenix, it's missing the unbridled joy of Wolfgang, so I had yet to find that album. Of all of the things to finally shake my feeling that I was going to wake up to find snow on the ground, it was the release of Mikal Cronin's MCII. It finally happened. Warm weather is here.

MCII is deceptive on first listen. While it's an instantly noticeable that it's an absolutely fun album, nothing it's doing is reinventing the wheel. It's a power-pop album through and through. And while it's easy to pick up on the fact that--despite the fact it isn't doing anything new--it's doing it extremely well, it isn't until further listens that it becomes apparent that it's an intricately-crafted album filled with unique arrangements and well-done instrumentation. Anyone who knows anything about Cronin won't be surprised by this. He's a member of the Ty Segall band, and he's already released on incredibly underrated self-titled album. However, this album leapfrogs his previous material and proves him as a master-craftsmen when it comes to heartfelt, fuzzy power-pop.

The album comes out swinging with the incredible "Weight" and "Shout It Out". Under normal circumstances, leading an album with two tracks that strong would run the risk of making an album--even more so one with ten tracks--seem front-loaded. Especially since I easily consider "Weight" the best indie-rock song of 2013 thus far. Starting with a jangly guitar and piano melody, it wastes no time erupting into a huge sing-along chorus, undercut by distortion that brings the whole thing together. "Shout It Out" follows the same template, with results that are almost as strong. Following that is "Am I Wrong", which blends the sound of the previous two with a bit of surf-rock, even throwing some cabaret-style piano in the mix. And like any power-pop album worth its mettle, it cuts the bitter with the sweet. Under the sunny arrangements are lyrics of self-doubt. The entire album opens with the line "I’ve been starting over for a long time. I’m not ready for another day". However, if you weren't paying attention it would sound like the most life-affirming, joyous track you'd ever listened to.

The album continues this strong pace, never running the usual problem with an album like this where all of the songs blend together. Part of what helps this are the occasional detours some of the songs take. There are ballads scattered throughout, which break up the pace, but in the best way. "Peace of Mind" is a power-pop/alt-country hybrid. Songs like "Turn Away" and "Piano Mantra" start as ballads and eventually unleash a blast of fuzzy-distortion that doesn't ever feel tacked on for the sake of having it in the song. They slowly build to the point where that release feels earned. With MCII Mikal Cronin has crafted one of the best albums of the year, and one that firmly moves him out of the area of "guy who works with Ty Segall" into "exciting artist to pay attention to". If he can follow up this album with another one as strong, he may even make Ty Segall the "guy who works with Mikal Cronin".



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user ratings (71)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
PorkchopExpress
May 7th 2013


387 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I was trying to figure out a way to shorten that opening paragraph a little for that reason, but I decided to just leave it as it is. It's a problem I've had in past reviews too. Thanks for reading, and thanks for the feedback!

MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
May 7th 2013


4507 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Still need to hear this, the first album was great

PorkchopExpress
May 7th 2013


387 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This one is even better.

RuanCSC
May 7th 2013


131 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Your review is a lot better than the album for me.

Digging: FKA Twigs - LP1

PorkchopExpress
May 7th 2013


387 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks! And I'm a sucker for power-pop, so my rating might be slightly skewed.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
May 8th 2013


8357 Comments


Your review is definitely not too long, don't listen to the guy up there. Well-written is what it is. Pos.

RadicalEd
May 8th 2013


2649 Comments


Review is not to long. Pos'd I didn't like the singles you suggested though, so i won't bother trying the album.

Digging: U2 - Songs of Innocence

PorkchopExpress
May 8th 2013


387 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks a lot you guys, and holy crap this is my first featured review.

scissorlocked
May 8th 2013


3510 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

nice review!

really want to dig this

kingsoby1
Emeritus
May 8th 2013


4950 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

good review.

EaglesBecomeVultures
May 8th 2013


5234 Comments


hii buddy sweet review stop smoking

PorkchopExpress
May 8th 2013


387 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks Sobhi

And dammit, I literally just finished a cigarette before I saw this

kingsoby1
Emeritus
May 8th 2013


4950 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

had one today. decided i'm going to quit again. this time no snus

PorkchopExpress
May 8th 2013


387 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm going cold turkey next time, because that was actually how I had the best luck out of the three attempts I've made to quit thus far. Also, I just shoutboxed you.

alachlahol
May 8th 2013


7489 Comments


some of this guys stuff is ok but yeah always just associate him with ty segall

juiceviaorange
May 8th 2013


285 Comments


This rules, Mikal Cronin rules.

kingsoby1
Emeritus
May 8th 2013


4950 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

cold turkey is the way to do it i think

PorkchopExpress
May 8th 2013


387 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's also the most miserable, at least for like the first week or so.

klap
Staff Reviewer
May 10th 2013


10415 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

ryan adams - gold eh?

downloading immediately

PorkchopExpress
May 10th 2013


387 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Rudy, while you should definitely DL this immediately I put that one because a few songs sound like power-pop filtered through alt. country. It doesn't necessarily sound like that album though. The other recs are more accurate.



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