Californian singer-songwriter Mikal Cronin, known for his lush arrangements, stunning melodies, and deeply personal lyrical work, is releasing his third LP in May 2015.
Written and recorded over the course of 2014, between long bouts of touring, MCIII finds the Laguna Beach native splitting his latest full-length statement into two distinct halves. On Side A, behold a shimmering tsunami of furious, undeniable pop songs. On Side B, marvel at a beautifully wrought concept record in miniature, built around the radiant retelling of what Cronin calls his “coming-of-age” story: After leaving California to go to school in the Pacific Northwest, he found himself alone and adrift, struggling with debilitating back pain and a dissolving sense of self. “It’s about a pivotal moment in my life that changed things, just within a couple of months,” he says. “It was a shifting point that sent me on the path to doing what I’m doing right now.”
As he did on his self-titled 2011 debut and 2013’s MCII, Cronin arranged and played nearly all of the record himself, including the tzouras, a traditional Greek string instrument he heard and subsequently bought while on tour in Athens. There’s French horn, saxophone, and trumpet. There are mood-altering crescendos and heartbreaking turns-of-phrase, guitars both gorgeous and pugnacious. No longer satisfied with the sound of “just one string player,” Croninarranged parts for a full string quartet instead.
“It’s a continuation of what I’ve been trying to do up until now, but I’m finding a better way to do it,” he says. “I’m finding a more successful way of working those unexpected elements and textures and instruments into a rock record, of exploring that wormhole and mushing everything together harmoniously. I like riding the line between the two,” he adds. “I like finding new ways to bring different musical worlds together.”