MCII - Mikal Cronin
MCII Image

Universal acclaim - based on 26 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 37 Ratings

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  • Summary: The second release for the San Francisco-based rock singer features K. Dylan Edrich and Ty Segall as guest musicians.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
  1. May 7, 2013
    When artists soften with time, their music often loses some of its appeal; rarely does a songwriter nail his voice as successfully as Cronin has here.
  2. 90
    Already so many people have been championing 2013 as the strongest year for music in recent memory, and they’re not wrong, but here’s an album that has the punch and wit to stick around with the best.
  3. May 2, 2013
    He's an excellent pop craftsman who knows how to turn the power up for maximum effect.
  4. 80
    "Piano Mantra" is ambitious, but he pulls it all off in an epic way--which could be said for MCII as a whole. [Jun 2013, p.92]
  5. May 13, 2013
    Listen in and the lyrics soundtrack a mid-youth crisis ("I've been starting over for a long time," Cronin croons as the album opens), but not so as to dent the overall impression of an ozone high.
  6. May 9, 2013
    Part of how Cronin succeeds in making the listener feel good are his failures: the outsized ambition and the pushing of his practical capacities remind the listener than they’re being spoken to by an everyman.
  7. Jun 17, 2013
    It's a pleasant listen but never quite sparks. [Jul 2013, p.100]

See all 26 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. May 13, 2013
    A surprisingly beautiful and melodic follow-up to a great garage rock debut. The instrumentation (Which he plays almost all by himself) is still fantastic, but the album also takes advantage of Mikal's secret weapon: His voice. His kurt vile-esque, nonchalant delivery is expanded to include soaring falsetto on many of the songs, and often help bring the emotional core of the song to the high level of the instrumentation. The lyrics are breezy and skin-deep, but like most everything else on the album, highly enjoyable. It's in my opinion the most full-fledged, pop-focused garage rock album in years, and has surpassed the work of his fellow San Francisco buddy Ty Segall, to bring Mikal into his own deserved spotlight. Expand
  2. May 14, 2013
    In this album, Mikal Cronin finally escaped the burden of Ty Segall's shadow, showing how talented he is as a solo artist. The album is more communicative than his debut record and it seems that he left some of the Garage Rock ingredients behind, replacing them by something similar to Power-Rock. It kind of reminded me the new album of Kurt Vile, what makes him one of my favourite so far in this year
  3. Jun 1, 2013
    The explosive sophomore album by the uprising indie star really packs a punch. The tuneful melodies offer an immaculate experience to the senses and put a grin on your face. Mikal's poppy, upbeat sound creates a soothing, warm summer afternoon feeling. Even though summer hasn't officially started, this could be indie rock's summer anthem album.

    The delirious power chords accompanied by attractive vocals and relaxing piano pieces blend together in a very unexpected way. For some reason, this collaboration of instruments is a match made in Heaven. From the opening notes on "Weight", there is a sultry magic in the air. Every track drips with personality and brings something new and unexpected. The heavy "Shout It Out" transitions to the harmonious "See It My Way", which then leads to the psychedelic "Peace of Mind", and so forth.

    At first, Mikal Cronin was virtually unknown to me. I figured that he was just another young kid trying to make a musical debut but would eventually fail. I was utterly mistaken. Mr. Cronin has proved his rightful spot along with some of indie rock's biggest names. As long as he keeps his unique and catchy sound, he's good to go.
  4. Dec 1, 2013
    I'm an aspiring musician, and this album is basically everything I'd want my music to sound like & how I'd want it to be made. It's a rock record packed with infectious melodies, crunchy distorted guitars, clear production & emotionally earnest lyrics. The subject matter focuses mostly around making tough transitions in life, occasionally enhanced with themes of dysfunctional relationships & confessional self-analysis. It reaches that great balance of being vivid enough to come across sincere & honest, while never being so personal that it's alienating. I can very easily see people in these kinds of situations identifying with songs here, and there are even a couple I can say that for about myself. The instrumentation's also worth noting, since Mikal recorded nearly every instrument on this album by himself & yet MCII has a very “live” feel to it. It doesn't sound like one guy recording a bunch of tracks on top of each other as much as it sounds like a band with a set of well-written songs jamming in their garage. There's also a great sense of dynamics in the production. Assuming he produced the album too, he knows exactly how distorted/clean the guitars should be at any given time, or how loud or soft a section of a track should be to make it more interesting within the generally typical verse-chorus song structures. And while each track definitely stays in the same genre, there's a decent amount of diversity within it. You've got the mid-paced classic folk-rock of “Peace of Mind”, followed by the fast dirty garage-punk of “Change”. “Piano Mantra” is probably the best example of this, starting as just that in the first minute or so before strings blend in & it beautifully builds gradually in instrumentation from there, especially hitting a peak when filthy distortion introduces the electric guitar part about 2/3 in. Easily one of my favorite albums of the year so far

    Top 5 tracks: Weight, Change, Piano Mantra, Shout It Out, Peace of Mind
    Score: 92/100
  5. May 7, 2013
    It's Mikal Cronin's magnum opus, with a more clean, fresh and more polished sound, that's been very well produced to make a short and sweet solo album. Garage rock has just never sounded so candied. Expand

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