MCII (CD)

Mikal Cronin
4
Tuesday, Jun 10, 2014

I don’t know much about Mikal Cronin. He has two albums out under his name, MCII and a self-titled debut that only hinted at the accomplishments found on here. He is obviously an acolyte of the kind of very melodic power pop music that doesn’t get a lot of attention. Does he reveal too much about himself in his music? Is it that he’d rather let his songs speak for themselves than have to provide a press-ready narrative? Who knows? What I know for sure is that MCII is a terrific set of songs that shows Cronin to be the kind of pop craftsman who doesn’t want the craft to get in the way of the pleasure drawn from hearing a great song.

MCII starts out very strong with the double punch of “Weight” and “Shout It Out.” These are exuberant, propulsive and melodic pop-rock songs that reveal upon closer listening a vulnerable lyricist who’s not afraid to say things like “I’ve been starting over for a long time/ I’m not ready for another day, I fail at feeling new/ The time is right, I’m only getting older/ I’m not ready for the second wave, the weight of seeing through” (“Weight”) or “Say you want me, say it’s fine / Take the light in, make it shine/ I don’t know me well enough/ To cure you. Is this love?” (“Peace of Mind”). While this is typically the realm of the Sensitive Sing-Songwriter, Cronin’s music is never complacent. “I’m Done Running from You” and, especially, “Turn Away”, with it’s beautifully extended Beach Boy’s-worthy coda, are just brilliant tunes executed with a lot of positive energy. Needless to say, MCII has been a constant presence in my speakers for the better part of a year now since its 2013 release and will continue to be for years to come.

For fans of R.E.M., Beach Boys, Big Star and Jason Falkner.

Bryan V.

Written by Bryan V.

Fun fact: I once met a guy who met Captain Beefheart.