Gone is the sound of raw bedroom recordings for Mikal Cronin. On MCII, he slips into a sound not far from Americana. Of course, across the whole album he can be picked apart as being a man of many influences and that is his downfall; a slight absence of originality.
The buzzing guitars remain and The Beach Boys’ sense of melody hinted at on his debut is carried over straight away into ‘Weight’. With better production comes the satisfying sound of things clicking into place for a clearly talented young man (you might have heard of his friend Ty Segall?). ‘Shout It Out’ has the indie feel of a Darwin Deez track but he goes one better by adding a surf guitar solo.
As previously mentioned, there has been a shift in style for this album and whether it’s a conscious step or merely down to influence is inconsequential because of how good the songs are. Rootsy stomper ‘Am I Wrong’ mixes alt-rock and acoustic guitars together sublimely. The Foo Fighters are evidently a big influence for ‘Change’, but this is no bad thing and nor is it surprising given that Mikal Cronin would have been the right age for The Colour and the Shape.
The wall of sound which was so key to his debut has been pulled back a little more on this album, but the pacing of the songs is a little monotonous. ‘Piano Mantra’ is a melancholy closer which offers a softer side, downplaying the noise so that when drums and guitar finally do kick in they have a bigger impact.
The gears which he possesses to power through don’t feel fully accessed this time around. Melodically, this leaves him a more limited palette but his name is one to watch for in the coming years.