First Listen Review: Mikal Cronin: MCIII

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Genre: Californian Garage Rock

The Good: What we have been seeing, especially in the past year, is the taking of surf rock sounds and expanding on them with both garage, Americana, and late-60s rock. With vocals reminiscent of Phantom Planet or Augustana, Mikal returns with this third album and although I have never heard any of his previous work, this set of songs is a good enough intro to the musician as any. His voice isn’t the strongest, but his mix of acoustic guitar, piano, and the occasional baroque instrument make this a great listen. it’s sunny as any Californian album could be, without having the pitfalls of the reverb drenched indie bright guitar chord rock that came to us in 2010. This album feels like a less gritty Cotillon or Ty Segall.  From first listen “Turn Around” is attractive for its fast paced drumming joining with a strumming pattern not heard in some years. “Say” opens with a driving bassline cruising next to a light cowbell with the vocals and other instruments rising soon enough for another tune perfect for driving to on a summer day. “Alone” is a pleasant, quiet song with some beautiful background horns. “Control” just sounds like California through and through. “Circle” ends the album with some excellent high note piano chords scaling the rhythms for a really pleasant finale. If this along with Cotillon and Ty Segall is where contemporary rock is heading in the next few years, we’re in good hands.

The Bad: It may take the first few songs to get into the album, but midway it really becomes an excellent listen.

Would I Listen Again: Definitely

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