Release Date: Sep 20, 2011
Record label: Trouble in Mind
Just out of college, Mikal Cronin already has a proven record at garage-rock bashing. As bassist and singer for the Moonhearts (formerly Charle & the Moonhearts), he spent his dorm-dwelling years releasing a sporadic string of fuzz-infused surf-rock tunes. More notably, he's the Waylon Jennings to Ty Segall's Buddy Holly-- a collaborator and sideman who sometimes fills the bass chair in the psych-rock upstart's live band.
If four-part harmonies, jangly guitars, arrangements reminiscent of 1960s psychedelia, and indelible vocal melodies are unfashionable, blackballed poperties absent from most music in the year two-thousand and twelve (which they are, even if they occasionally manage to sneak their way into a Girls or Best Coast beach party), then Mikal Cronin is Ernest Worrell. We’re talking permanent testicular damage from the amount of wedgies this guy received. Earning his pop outsider stripes by playing a supplementary role in Ty Segall’s live band and fraternizing with likeminded Californian Nuggets revivalists, he’s finally decided to make a full length record entirely of his own creation.
Much in the same vein as Thee Oh Sees and Ty Segall (both of whom guest on this record), Mikal Cronin votes straight down the ticket of that San Francisco psych-garage revival platform. It’s comforting, warm, and scuzzy just like we used to do after school. But separating Cronin from his contemporaries is a stronger focus on songcraft and melody, one that recalls The Everly Brothers, Paul Revere & the Raiders, or even Henry Nilsson at times.
That Moonhearts bassist/Ty Segall collaborator Mikal Cronin knows all sorts of examples of what can be described as classic pop/rock is obvious from the first notes of "Is It Alright" -- harmonies out of the Beach Boys, a building burst of melody that the Raspberries could have loved, and an echo-swathed verse that's both Phil Spector and the Jesus and Mary Chain. But by the time the keyboard drone pop of "Slow Down" arrives, it's clear that Cronin's debut release, however tied together by his singing, seeks to not simply be yet another power pop showcase above all else, whether served up clean or with layers of scuzz. The Suicide-meets-Can growl that opens "Green and Blue," for instance, may be a familiar element in other revivals, but Cronin puts enough of a hooky spin on the feedback rampage to help make it stand out as the album's first down-the-line success.