Mikal Cronin MCII

Mikal Cronin MCII
8
Mikal Cronin is cautiously optimistic for the future. On sophomore solo release MCII, the Ty Segall collaborator mixes wistful pop with fuzzed-out guitar rock to celebrate the advent of life's new directions, even if they're haunted by the shadows of the past. A move to San Francisco and the end of a long relationship have seen Cronin's life change quite significantly in the past year, and on MCII, he sounds invigorated yet somehow apprehensive about his new place in the 21st century. On big album opener "Weight," major chords turn to minor as his youthful optimism sounds somehow tested by the suggestion of wary doubtfulness. Cronin argues with, and contradicts, himself, ready to take on new encounters yet nervous to do so: "I'm not ready for another day, I feel, I feel anew." In keeping with the theme of new directions, MCII welcomes an array of fresh sounds to Cronin's repertoire, including jangly piano riffs and even incremental horns. These new noises, however, don't fully escape Cronin's penchant for fuzzy garage rock, which shows up appropriately throughout MCII. The album is full of wonderful contradictions and new influences from Cronin that are very welcome. "When I step back, it sounds kind of schizophrenic," he says, "Hopefully it all sounds enough like me to make sense." Indeed, Cronin offers new experiments on MCII, but errs just enough on the side of caution to create a fantastic pop record. (Merge)