Mike Krol's third album, Turkey, picks up where 2013's Trust Fund left off, with Krol delivering frantic fuzz-fest power-popped garage rock like a pro, with the added bonus of keys. Nine addictive tracks around the two-minute mark fly by, warranting many repeat listens. His heart proudly on his sleeve, Krol is like King Tuff's sensitive little brother, especially when his bratty whine juxtaposes with retro ray-gun sounds on "Neighborhood Watch.
The title of singer/guitarist/drummer Mike Krol's third album is a bowling reference, used for when you get three strikes in a row. On a poster in the liner notes, he is pictured holding two gold records, with tags beneath each reading, "to commemorate the sale of no more than 500 copies." Clearly, Krol has a sense of humor about himself, and his position. But his Merge debut isn't hangdog at all.
Before Mike Krol signed on with Merge Records, he released two albums of no-fuss, overdriven garage punk that had hooks galore and a nice outsider-y appeal. Sort of like a low-rent Ty Segall or a cousin to any number of other guys combining the simplicity of '60s garage with the snarling attitude of '70s punk and recording it in a dingy basement. Any fears that moving to the relative bigtime would cause Krol to get all slick or suddenly discover fidelity are swatted down on the first track of his 2015 mini-LP, Turkey.
Simplistic lyrics about suburban boredom and youthful abandon? Tick. Muffled, loudspeaker-style vocals? Tick. Guitar that may as well have been played with a cheesegrater? Tick, tick, tick. There’s a proliferation of “quirky” dudes that make music like this – lo-fi garage-punk that sounds as if it’s been recorded in a tin can and spliced on to cassette tape.
There is always a concern when a staunchly DIY and unconventional artist signs with an organized label. Will, say, studio polish smooth over inconsistent tracks? Mike Krol answers that question immediately on Turkey, his first for Merge after releasing two records on his own Counter Counter Culture. Turkey is erratic, disjointed and full of loose garage swagger - in other words, classic Krol.