Most of the garage-punk acts that have emerged in the wake of Ty Segall and Thee Oh Sees in the 2010s have been bands with no small amount of studied cool lurking behind their sweaty energy. Mike Krol is a vital exception to this rule; Krol is far too concerned with pumping out his fuzzy, no-frills, hook-infused rock and laying his heart out for all to see to have much truck with being cool. And that's a large part of what makes his music work so well. Krol clearly has a sense of humor and isn't trying to reinvent the wheel, but it's clear that rock & roll means a lot to him. When he sings his songs about broken hearts and trying to live up to life's expectations, he means it, maaaan, and if that doesn't make him the hippest guy on the block, that doesn't seem to worry him one bit. After making his name with a pair of self-financed releases, Krol moved up to a well-funded indie label for 2015's Turkey, but that album suggested a bigger budget wasn't going to change him or his approach, and 2019's Power Chords confirms it. If the recording and mix are a few shades cleaner here than on 2013's Trust Fund, this music still sounds homebrewed and a little noisy, with Krol clearly willing to push his vocals and guitars into the red zone when they need it. He is also in solid form here as a songwriter, knocking out bits of three-chord wonder throughout and getting just a bit more serious about the ups and downs of relationships without getting pretentious or gooey on us. Krol is that increasing rare and wondrous species, a natural born rock & roller, and the chunky barrage of guitars, drums, and soulful bellowing that comprises Power Chords is the work of a regular guy with an above average ability to kick out the jams and make them signify. Maybe Krol isn't cool, but Power Chords shows he's fierce, fun, exciting, and real, and that always means more in the long run.
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming