I have a couple of people to thank for this record. First is whoever put that amazing Mikal Cronin song on their split 7" with Superchunk that came out as part of the Merge Singles Club. 2nd is my buddy @chris_whitehead, who assured me that giving this record a chance was the smart thing to do. Honestly I had all but written Mikal Cronin off as one of those things friends liked but I just didn't get. MCII has completely changed my opinion on that.
This record is so great. So great. The pop that this man conjures is unbelievable. From the opening seconds of "Weight," I'm hooked. That's it, there's no way this record doesn't end up in my collection. While I felt the first Mikal Cronin record was spotty at best and full of the sort of psych overlays that do nothing for me; MCII is as unashamedly pop as you could make a record. What I hear more than anything else is similarities to an older favorite band of mine, The Mull Historical Societ; particularly on the song "Shout It Out." With it's wistful verse and freaking gigantic chorus, it's the kind of song you listen to wishing you could have somehow written it. It's just too perfect.
The only times the record loses me at all are on 2 songs. I find "See It My Way" sticks out on the record like a sore thumbs with its screaming guitar solo and high pitched chorus. "Piano Mantra" also doesn't really do anything for me as a stand alone song, however it does make sense in the form of an album closer, so I don't really have any beef with that. Those two minor criticisms aside, I think this is simply a fantastic record. One I really regret waiting so long to give a chance to.
Mikal Cronin - "Weight":
Mikal Cronin - "Shout It Out":