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Mikal Cronin - MCII

  by Daniel Cressey

published: 14 / 5 / 2013

Mikal Cronin - MCII
Label: Merge Records
Format: CD


Essential combination of Beach Boys-style and gritty Nirvana-style distortion on second album from Californian singer-songwriter and guitarist, Mikal Cronin

Mikal Cronin is getting a reputation for producing gloriously crafted American pop with a sometimes surprisingly gritty rock edge. Channelling the Beach Boys through a presumably Nirvana-laced childhood, he blends slow acoustic movements into furious guitar solos, all salted with a dash of sunny rock. It will surprise no one who hears this album to learn the man behind it hails from California. Pushing into his late 20s, Cronin can still just pull of the youth ennui vibe. On opening track 'Weight' he successfully marries his downcast outlook to a soaring, melodic chorus. On 'Shout It Out' he goes one better, plaintively asking “Do I shout it out/Do I let it go/Do I need to know/What I'm waiting for”, complaining that “shit goes on and on” and still getting away with it due to an unexpectedly welcome 'woo, woo, woo' harmony. Later he pleads, “Say you want me, say it loud” on 'Peace of Mind' – volume being stated in lyrics as well as produced instrumentally on 'MCII' – before going on to ask'“Can I help you?/Can I try?” in a way that implies he doesn't really think so. Even when he finally lets rip on 'Change', he still keeps a note of doubt and an ever so hesitant soft section between blazing through a percussive, guitar laced refrain of “Good God, just a little bit”. Toward the end of this short, 10-track release Cronin slows things down, letting his voice, a piano and just a touch of strings do the heavy lifting, but losing none of the intensity of what came before. Sunny even when it is miserable, uncertain even when it is strident, and easy on the ears even at its loudest, 'MCII' cements Mikal Cronin as one of the best things to have come out of America in recent years. This is as close to essential as records get.

Track Listing:-
1 Weigh
2 Shout It Out
3 Am I Wrong
4 See It My Way
5 Peace of Mind
6 Change
7 I m Done Running from You
8 Don t Let Me Go
9 Turn Away
10 Piano Mantra

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