Mike Krol is something of an enigma.
While he has all the makings of an underground icon, it's never quite taken off. Having released two albums (I Hate Jazz in 2011, and Trust Fund in 2013), both filled to the brim with spunky jams that are as fast paced as they are heartfelt, in 2015 he released his third album, Turkey. It was his first on Merge Records, and what felt like the beginning of a bright future.
Yet, things didn't quite sit right. Feeling like the music world didn’t want him, he became jaded with the whole concept and, in the ensuing storm, fell out of love with music.
Enter Power Chords.
The battered and bruised Krol adorning the cover alludes to the journey that found him creating his fourth album. Wrestling his demons, and self-meaning, the last few years have led to an introspective record that’s once again filled with promise. A return to garage-form; what Krol may have once seen as his foible, has now become his greatest strength - a natural vulnerability housed within pummelling chords, rattling drums and barely audible vocals.
The thread that keeps this all together is Krol’s burgeoning status as a master of melody. Amongst the musical discord lies the DNA of a power-pop mind battling that of a punk - seasoned with the vitriol of someone battered and torn. You could begin to think that straight up, runaway punk songs would be in danger of getting a bit samey, but Krol keeps you on your toes, with “Left For Dead” using an intricate web of false starts to roll things into gear.
Elsewhere, “Blue & Pink” feels like Krol relaxing slightly, which is saying something given it’s still vibrantly distorted, but the lushly filled out sound that matches with his sincere vocals, while “I Wonder” spikes some real fun into Power Chords.
All told, Mike Krol deserves far more recognition than he currently has. There’s a unique heart hidden deep with every album he creates, and Power Chords is no different. Open yourself up to the world of Krol.