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Mikal Cronin
MCII Julian Marszalek , May 20th, 2013 07:55

The idea that record sleeves should carry some kind of cautionary sticker against explicit material has always had the stench of the ridiculous about it but in the case of Mikal Cronin's second solo collection, a health warning really would come in handy because, and make no mistake, this gem of an album is probably as addictive as crack cocaine.

Probably best known for supplying the low end with Ty Segall Band, Cronin is now stepping into the well-deserved limelight with a record packed with hook-laden melodies so gloriously bright they would have banished the extended winter had they appeared several months ago, as well as crunching fuzz guitars and a delirious sense of joy that belies some of the heartache contained within these golden nuggets. Moreover, while looking to a past of snot-nosed rock & roll originated in garages in the wake of The Rolling Stones' initial storming of America, Cronin has enough grounding in the present to ensure that this isn't a mere trawl through someone else's nostalgia.

MCII is one of those albums that cause a frisson of panic at the outset; so good is opener 'Weight' - an arpeggiated piano intro gives way to acoustic guitars that eventually surrender to a colossal wash of fuzz, all underpinned by an instantly memorable melody and lyrical self-doubt - that you're left wondering if this can possibly get any better. Thankfully, the answer is a resounding 'yes' as over the remaining nine tracks Cronin effortlessly scales pop heights with an ease that borders on the indecent.

As evidenced by the likes 'I'm Done Running From You', the crunchy 'See It My Way' and the beautiful 'Don't Let Me Go', this is music for anyone living or has lived through that period when life throws up more questions than answers. Cronin doesn't offer any solutions but what he does do is articulate those sentiments with a rare insight and empathy that's tied up with a masterful grasp of songwriting talent. Best of all is 'Piece Of Mind' wherein Cronin reins in his most scuffed tendencies to deliver a heartfelt glimpse of naked, emotional honesty that's bolstered with a tenderly played violin solo that lets the tear ducts flow like a river.

Elsewhere, Ty Segall lends his six-string talents to the fizzy stomp of 'Am I Wrong' but this is largely a celebration of Cronin's immense talent. Playing most of the instruments himself, MCII is an album that should propel Cronin's talents to a wider and much deserved audience. As vital as the air that you breathe, you need this album in your life. Now go out and get it.