Mikal Cronin

Mikal Cronin

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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. In turn, "Hold on Me" has a bit of late-'50s tearjerker ballad feeling to it in notable sonic contrast. There's also something late '80s about the album, in the way that any number of acts were playing around with psychedelia in their own right, like Love and Rockets and the Ophelias, a kind of shadowy echo of an echo but one with its own splendid and involving air. Credit as well for calling a song "Apathy" but having the title line actually be "I don't want apathy."

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