On both his self-titled debut and its follow-up, ‘MCII’, Mikal Cronin impressed with a deft, intelligent take on garage rock that set him apart in a frankly crowded marketplace. The latter, especially, made it seem as if he was genuinely coming into his own as a songwriter and stepping out of the shadow cast by his previous collaborator Ty Segall, which is why it’s a little surprising that only a couple of years later, the law of diminishing return already seems to have set in with ‘MCIII’.

The album’s light, airy production and clever blend of acoustic and electric guitar work – the latter being something of a Cronin signature, and the pairing reminiscent of The Shins more than once here – are present and correct throughout, but beyond that, he sounds as if he might be running out of ideas. Opening one-two ‘Turn Around’ and ‘Made My Mind Up’ are pleasant and well-constructed, but lack the tightness of pace that ran through ‘MCII’; elsewhere, meanwhile, the album’s closing half sees tracks numbered one to six, but there isn’t a great deal of evident sonic cohesion.

There’s still flashes of brilliance – ‘Say’ is an enjoyably loose, freewheeling guitar romp, whilst closer ‘Circle’ is scored through with pretty melodies – but otherwise, there’s a strong case here for suggesting that Cronin might have benefited from an extended break before jumping straight back into the saddle with a third album.


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