Highlights: Weight, Shout It Out, Peace Of Mind, Don't Let Me Go
Mikal Cronin is a longtime collaborator of Ty Segall, and for my money he has revealed himself as the more talented songwriter of the two. The latter’s onslaught of albums has become rather exasperating. After all, is there anything more boring than a garage/psychedelic rock revival album these days? (And that includes you, Floating Coffin.) At least when you rip off Teenage Fanclub, you are bound to come up with a few good tunes.
And this basically is what Mikal Cronin does on his second album. Writes ten pleasant, catchy, Teenage Fanclub-inspired pop songs that far surpass anything on his rather raw and fragmented debut two years ago. “Weight” and “Shout It Out” are near perfect power pop openers, memorable and tastefully distorted, that probably set the bar a little too high. Not that there is a single less-than-good song here, but I just fail to find anything exceptional about vocal melodies of tracks like “Change” or “See It My Way” (terrific guitar work from Mikal, though). However, I find the violin-fuelled pop rocker “Peace Of Mind” and the acoustic Elliott Smith-esque ballad “Don’t Let Me Go” absolutely irresistible. As I do the sweetly orchestrated, piano-based minimalism of the closing “Piano Mantra”. It rips it up a bit towards the end, but overall this is gently affecting stuff.
One of those reviews where you just talk yourself into rating an album higher than you initially planned. You know that album which you can’t stop listening while driving out of town on a nice sunny day? Well, MCII is so much more than that…