7 Aug 2015

Mac DeMarco / Another One (album review)


I think the charm of NYC-based Canadian singer-songwriter Mac DeMarco is that despite the down to earth slacker aesthetic he projects to the world, he's an incredibly gifted musician that can effortlessly use odd tunings, awkward-to-play riffs and weird tones to create an almost unique beachy atmosphere. Where the likes of Wavves and FIDLAR just seem to hit their instruments quick 'n' hope for the best, and the likes of Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Tame Impala seem kinda beachy and down-to-earth but also a bit too outta-this-world studio gurus, Mac occupies a bit of a middle space, making his music the ultimate summer beach-come-barbecue soundtrack.

Whilst he's already put out the Some Other Ones instrumental EP unofficially on his bandcamp this Summer (which our writer Izzi review nicely here), the big release, out today, that everyone's been waiting for with bated breath is his new mini-album Another One. Not quite an album, but certainly more than an EP, Another One is Mac's big 2015 release, and the follow-up to Salad Days, which saw his UK audience grow considerably.

Although Mac's kinda got a bit of a reputation as a kind of 'goofball' figure, or someone that doesn't take things particularly seriously, Salad Days was a step in establishing DeMarco as a songwriter that could cover a wider range of emotions, because at time of recording I think he was a bit exhausted from tour after tour, and all that. On Another One, Mac gets even deeper into a range of forlorn emotions, as the whimsical title track suggests - 'The feelin' never stops/And neither does the clock' he croons sadly.

The wailing beachy guitars at the opening of A Heart Like Hers and The Way You'd Love Her are classic Mac DeMarco, and wouldn't be outta place on any of his albums, but once you get into the verses of them, the same lovelorn, forlorn character takes over, and Mac deals out some lyrics about a girl, who seems kinda mysterious cos DeMarco doesn't really describe her. I guess the 25 year old's increasing use of themes of love in his songwriting probably comes from a love interest, or a lost love interest, or someone having a lost love interest. Who knows?

But it's not all particularly doomy-and-gloomy insular moaning (and tuneful doomy gloomy moans at that) - I've Been Waiting For Her is something I anticipate as being a staple of any Summer 2k15 playlists, and whilst the lyrics cover the same themes, if this doesn't get you feeling summery then all the hope is lost for you : get your Joy Division and Public Image and Elliott Smith records and retire to bed til Christmas time. No Other Heart is exactly the same, and to some extent so is The Way You'd Love Her, dealing out a bit of relationship advice (maybe to himself) that you can skank to.

Finally though, My House By The Water just demonstrates that the Pepperoni Playboy goofball character that Mac puts accross a lot is still here and kicking. At the end of a dreamy instrumental, he only gives out his address and tells his fans that if they come along, he'll make them a cup of coffee, which is just a bit of a symptom of what a likeable guy this DeMarco fella is - and if you're interested in his offer of coffee get yrself down to the address at the end of My House By The Water.

8.7/10

(written by calum cashin)