By Iliana Ramirez
Artist: Mike Krol
Album: Power Chords
Release Date: January 25, 2019
Los Angeles-based artist Mike Krol is gracing the new year with his fourth studio album, Power Chords. In all of 33 minutes, Krol exemplifies what the sound of garage rock is; fast-paced, guitar-driven and muffled vocals. With Krol being a Los Angeles native, most of the album was recorded in the city with the help of well-known producer, Mike McCarthy. This is the follow up to Krol’s 2015 release, Turkey. The album’s first single, “An Ambulance”, begins with a riff which is highly definable for the rest of the album.
The album art of Power Chords is one of the first elements which struck me about this album. Krol’s black eye and bloody nose juxtaposed against the pastel colors of the bedroom give the record the sense of humor which it displays. This humor is especially present throughout Krol’s songwriting. On “Pink and Blue”, Krol sings about going on a walk to clear his thoughts but every dog on the street seems to hate him. According to Krol, he was going through quite an existential phase throughout the making of the album. This seems apparent as Krol reflects on his life and individual self throughout most of the album. The garage rocker does this not in a way which is deep and somber but instead takes a humorous approach. Krol is an artist who knows how to have fun and not take himself too seriously.
On the album’s seventh song “I Wonder”, female vocals appear throughout the bridge of the song. These vocals come from the singer-songwriter, Alison Crutchfield, or better known by her stage name, Waxahatchee. The two also collaborate well throughout the album as Crutchfield plays piano on tracks such as “Arrow in My Heart”. Crutchfield’s soft vocal, which is nicely harmonized with Krol’s, and her piano skills give the record versatility.
The final 30-seconds of the album from the appropriately titled song, “The End”, feels as if Krol bunched up all of the energy he had left and put it all in his instrumentation. This record is one which is short and to the point. Krol is high energy and sharp instrumentation allows him to dive right into each song. Make sure to catch Krol when he makes his way through the Austin area with several dates during SXSW.