Mikal Cronin – MCIII
Mikal Cronin is writing the best Carl Newman songs since 2004. That isn’t a slight to either artist. Newman and the New Pornographers have matured since their power-pop heyday, and Cronin is there to carry the torch and deliver the hookiest, most satisfying alt-pop since “Sing Me Spanish Techno.” I was late to Cronin’s coming out party with his brainmeltingly blissful 2013 sophomore effort MCII, and mostly I’m just glad I caught the boat at all. I just read an article that says you stop discovering new music at 33! And that it is accelerated for parents! And I TOTALLY AGREE WITH THAT ARTICLE. I lack the drive to comprehend the new and the interesting.
Fortunately, Cronin’s tunes are so within my wheelhouse it’s no effort at all to enjoy his music. His third album (and second on Merge, which is the best home these songs could have) incorporates big, orchestral flourishes and you can practically feel the ambition radiating off this thing. The whole back-half is a five-song suite that breaks from the good-time pop mold and features Cronin laying it all on the line. It’s a huge, diversely arranged song cycle that has the feel and flow (and occasionally orchestrated) of a Neutral Milk Hotel record. It’s beautiful and heartfelt departure that has my pop-loser soul yearning for more Mikal Cronin.