Mikal Cronin – MCIII
Sometime Ty Segall associate and power pop pusher Mikal Cronin proved himself an expert at writing big hooks in songs that felt familiar without being derivative on MCII. That album has a permanent place on my phone, largely because even if it wasn’t there the songs would be popping up into my head on a constant basis. MCIII doesn’t have that same quality. While the album is still full of songs that are very recognizably Mikal Cronin songs, they don’t have the same sense of ease in conveying giant hummable melodies. The proceedings of MCIII seem darker, more depressed, and infinitely less sure of themselves. Right from the beginning of “Turn Around”, the sound comes off as muddier; Cronin sings at the same basic volume as he does on MCII, but here he struggles to be heard over the large, enveloping middle that has arisen out of the production.The rest of the first side follows suit, with a hesitant Cronin struggling for space with the rest of the instruments, while those instruments muddle along in an unexciting fashion. The second half, with its numbered conceit, improves marginally; here he adds piano and strings into the mix, which has the effect of livening up the tracks. The same problem with burying the hooks occurs, however, and in the end it’s just as unsatisfying as the first side. Even a surefire winner like “iv) Ready” falters from the odd reticence that mars the album. MCIII is, compared to the majority of pop albums released, a decent enough album, but in direct comparison to is predecessor it falters significantly.