Album Review: ‘MC III’

Mikal Cronin’s new release, “MC III, is a supersonic pile-driver for the ears. This album originated from this past year’s tour with fellow East-coaster, Ty Segall.

As the third LP for the Californian singer-songwriter, it features one well-constructed pop song after another and is his first release under the Merge record Label. Classically trained from the California Institute of Fine Arts, Cronin’s wide musical knowledge truly comes through.

Every song features wonderfully arranged orchestral parts, which Cronin arranged and played himself. His guitar-driven pop anthems are also perfect for anyone’s summer mixtape. 550_mikalcronin_gatefold.indd

The first side of the album begins with an upbeat powerhouse song, “Turn Around,” which is designed to blow the listener away. The song swells, as a wave of guitars, strings, and drums crash over your ear drums.

If up-tempo guitar rock is your thing, “Say” is the perfect song for you. It opens with a driving bass, drums, and a cowbell and then evolves into a full-fledged rock song, complete with a guitar solo.

Finally, Cronin brings the energy down for the final song on the A side, “I’ve Been Loved”. This mellow, acoustic anthem showcases his talent as an arranger through thrilling string parts which dazzle the ears.

Side B relates Cronin’s coming of age story, how he moved from California to the Pacific Northwest to go to school, as well as dealing with isolation, debilitating back pain and a loss of self.

He refers to this era as a pivotal time in his life, and the music reflects that. “I Alone” features a soft movie score-like texture and provides a perfect view of the isolation Cronin felt. Conversely, “IV Ready” is a driving force reminiscent of 90’s college rock stylings.

MCIII, is an exceptional piece of music that I highly recommend to anyone who appreciates driving guitar rock and exhilarating string arrangements.


Baily Sexton


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