September 28, 2011

Mikal Cronin :: Mikal Cronin

Considering Mikal Cronin's close association with the shred-happy Ty Segall, I was expecting some serious headbanger's on the former's self-titled debut on Chicago's Trouble In Mind Records. However, while guitars roar, that's merely a sideline distraction in Cronin's nuanced, thoughtful, and highly melodic debut. Songs like the wonderfully upbeat "Again and Again" sound like they were plucked straight out of the British invasion, recalling 1960s UK artists like The Kinks, The Beatles, and The Troggs. The very next track, the acoustic strummed "Hold On Me," sounds like a lost Zombies B-side with its crisp and airy vocal harmonies and ear-catching melody. The intimate and sparsely decorated "Hold On Me" by itself might be one of the better songs of 2011 and its whistled outro one of the better moments, inspiring imagery of a lone hero walking into the sunset in a grainy old spaghetti western.

But the record of course doesn't stop there: each of its 10 tracks are brilliant in their own right, bursting from start to finish with the raw energy of an artist that's clearly psyched to stretch out his creative legs on an LP for the first time. From the soaring opening Beach Boys-inspired harmony on "Is It Alright" to the closing homage to "Martha My Dear" in the killer toe-tapper "The Way Things Go," Cronin manages to pay proper tribute to his predecessors while keeping the mood fresh and the song's inarguably his own. Obviously, Cronin's a music fan at heart, and that love of listening and playing informs and radiates through every hook, bridge, and chorus. Cronin's debut long player is the best kind of album: one made by and for music fans.

Purchase the LP via Trouble In Mind.

Mikal Cronin - "Apathy" (from Mikal Cronin)
Mikal Cronin - "Again and Again" (from Mikal Cronin)

Mikal Cronin - "Hold On Me" (from Mikal Cronin)

Mikal Cronin

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