Followers of Tulip Frenzy know that we have marveled for some time about how San Francisco could have in Ty Segall and Kelley Stoltz two artists who are both so alike and so different. Ty heads to his basement studio all by his lonesome and produces album after album of thundering punk’n'psychedelic glories. Kelley climbs the creaky stairs to his atelier and without any assistants crafts these pop gems that seem like a mashup between Ray Davies and Hermes’ finest saddle maker. These two towering talents may as well have been operating on different planets, not the same area code. Until now…
We enjoyed Mikal Cronin’s first solo album, but honestly, the reason we were so interested in him was in his role as a Ty Segal sideman and collaborator. The reflected glory, the association, was sufficient to get our attention, but to hold it, he needed to produce a record we wanted to listen to as avidly as anything done by his harder rocking, shaggy friend. Happily, now comes his wonderful second album, MCII, which fits directly into a modern power pop milieu familiar to anyone who loves the New Pornographers/A.C. Newman or Brendan Benson/Raconteurs.
But damn if, on the third album’s third song, “Am I Wrong” — the song on which Ty lends a hand — you don’t immediately think of Kelley Stoltz. Wait, you don’t mean… Yes! We have the missing link! The twain has met, Ty Segall and Kelley Stoltz are connected! See the electricity arc! Somewhere busking in the middle of Union Square, we see Ty and Kelley backing up Mikal, who by now has joined their ranks!
It’s a terrific album. It would take the FBI to distinguish between the falsetto registers that Mikal and A.C. Newman can sometimes hit, which is a compliment. In fact, there are moments when we swear we’re listening to the new album by Woods. But this is a wholly original, deeply satisfying foray into modern American power pop, and wholly worthy of your interest in its own right, not just as an extension of Segallmania.