Infinite Shuffle

August 15, 2013

170 – Mikal Cronin

Filed under: C, San Francisco — assman41 @ 1:10 am

One of the tidbits that often comes up in stories on Jack White is the number of various bands and side projects he’s a part of. It’s true that White is a busy man, but he looks like a sloth in comparison to Mikal Cronin.

Dating back to 2005 — and probably much further back — the San Francisco-based garage rocker has been actively providing his guitar skills and occasional vocals to a number of bands, such as Epsilons, Moonhearts, Okie Dokie and Party Fowl, a few of which also included high school pal Ty Segall. Cronin is also a mainstay in Segall’s live band and has collaborated on an album — 2009’s Reverse Shark Attack — with him.

But Cronin’s best work has come most recently in the form of his solo releases — 2011’s self-titled “debut” and this year’s MCII, which found its way on to several mid-year best-of lists.

Where most of his early work consisted of him adding a fuzzed-out guitar to throwaway garage-rock compositions, the 27-year-old has shown himself to be a formidable force through his solo releases.

His self-titled disc opens with a harmony straight out of a Beach Boys recording studio, and it lingers throughout the album.

The second track, “Apathy” — which, cleverly, is about how he doesn’t want apathy, has a subtle nod to the Beatles’ “Hey Jude”. And as the album progresses, it feels as if the Beach Boys and Beatles hung out together in a garage all day playing pop-rock music.

Jump to this year’s release, and there is still some of that residual ’60s vibe, but Cronin adds some more modern influences. Well, modern as in ’90s alt-rock. Several songs on MCII — such as “Am I Wrong”, “See It My Way” and “I’m Done Running From You” — give the impression that Cronin listened to a lot of Weezer and Guided By Voices during his formative years.

The album starts strong with “Weight”, which establishes that Cronin has kicked things up a notch from his previous release. That transitions into the best song on the album, “Shout It Out”, a ditty that will get stuck in your head immediately.

In fact, many of the songs on this album are liable to bounce around in your head for a while. It’s front-loaded with several strong cuts, but after the fifth track, “Peace of Mind”, which calls to mind Wilco, the disc starts to peter out.

Even so, this album is one of the strongest to drop this year and should help Cronin continue to prove himself a strong solo artist.


1 Comment »

  1. […] Mikal Cronin – MCII … Favorite song: “Shake It Out” […]

    Pingback by Best of 2013 – My list | Infinite Shuffle — January 2, 2014 @ 1:43 am

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