Surf Punk Goes For the Pop Jugular

Moonheart and Ty Segall collaborator Mikal Cronin is set to release his first solo album and it’s a stunner. It’s not quite from out of nowhere, but the quality here surpasses anything he’s done previously. Here’s my track by track take on this very good record.

Is it Allright – Beach Boys oohs but with crunchy guitars and a flute freakout courtesy of John Dwyer. A grand statement for the first song that sets the bar high.

Apathy – To say that Cronin sounds like his sometimes collaborator Ty Segall is stating the obvious. Listen closer and you notice that Cronin’s voice is sweeter and mellower, plus he knows how to use a saxophone to great effect.

mp3: Mikal Cronin – Apathy

Green & Blue – starts out with Tomorrow Never Knows drums and then a huge soaring riff swoops in with the vocals arriving buried in the mix. This isn’t so much a song, but instead one mega-giant riff.

Get Along – Two favorite parts in this song: 1) Cool backwards guitar solo in the middle. 2.)Near the end he strips away the noise and it’s just acoustic guitar and Cronin singing “I’m not thinking about you”

mp3: Mikal Cronin – Get Along

Slow Down – slow mood piece that reminds me of Hollow Life by Frankie Rose. Where Hollow Life was the lead track to set the mood on Roaes’s album, Cronin puts his in the middle to give you a rest from the intense first half of the record and let you know that the second half is going to be something of a different beast.

Gone – few records these days put the best song as track one on side two, but in the current vinyl resurgence we may start seeing more of this again. A huge bassline in this one bubbles up out of the depths and a huge chorus to match it. Gone is the go to track on the record.

Situation – How do follow a giant pop song? With another one of course. This minor key hook that is quite sublime. A two minute pop song with no fat on it.

Again & Again – I like how this album progresses it seems to mellow. Less distortion and reverb here and Cronin is all the better for it. Again & Again has a hook that may or may not have been swiped from Steve Miller.

Hold On Me – The mellowness continues. Hold On Me is like a lullaby that conjures a hallucinogenic version of Buddy Holly. Complete with whistled outro. Sweet.

The Way Things Go – Epic final song. It’s like the Electric Light Orchestra where The kitchen sink gets thrown in an it nearly works until Cronin seems to purposefully fuck it up at the end. It’s as if he’s saying yeah I could do this, but I’m gonna warp it into something unlistenable because I don’t want to make the perfect album….yet.

Mikal Cronin’s self-titled debut comes out 2o September on Trouble In Mind.


  1. SoundBitesNYC · August 9, 2011

    yeah who’dve thought he was capable of this from listening to the good but by-the-book moonhearts’ records.

  2. Elizabeth · August 12, 2011

    Hey, I love your blog! Super rad. Just fyi, Ty Segall is spelled with two l’s not one!

    • Toby · August 13, 2011

      Thanks Elizabeth. I think I’ve spelled it correctly in the past. Momentary lapse in spelling skills…actually I have spelling lapses quite often (as you’ve probably noticed).

  3. Pingback: MIKAL CRONIN: ¡este viernes! « psychic hearts

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