The personification of hipster ‘chill’, Mac DeMarco’s music is like a rare sedative, both soothing and buoyant, charming and mischievous – like a nice shot of whiskey.
I first came to know him through his excellent album ‘Salad Days,’ this release’s successor, and have now backtracked to this. I still need to listen to his third album which dropped this year… a moment I’m savouring as this is the type of music to floor you on first hearing – very easy listening and mellow, a bit like The Beatles in that vein.
‘Cooking Up Something Good’ gets things rolling – an alluring little riff eases in before the track breathes out fully. Ostensibly, a carefree track however the actual lyrics belie something more blue – his father was a crystal meth addict (hence the track title), the line ‘and daddy’s on the sofa, pride of the neighbourhood’ radiating a strong sense of sarcasm. The chorus on this is lovely, emitting a distilled sense of boredom and wistfulness: ‘ooh when life moves this slowly / ooh just try and let it go.’
‘Dreamin” has a cracking opening, a bass thud heralding a delicious slurred guitar. This song is the epitome of laziness, dallying along though the mist of its own spaciness.
‘Freaking Out the Neighbourhood’ starts out with an undeniable gorgeous guitar riff – soooo good! I’m told this song was inspired by an occasion where DeMarco saw it fitting to insert a drumstick up his arse while playing a cover of U2’s ‘Beautiful Day.’ The video is on YouTube – watch it if you dare! Yes, the guy’s a bit of an oddball, but when you can write music this good…
‘Annie’ is another dreamy image in DeMarco’s surreal collage, the refrain, ‘I’m going down,’ urging you to sink deeper and deeper still into that pillow/hammock/grassy knoll. ‘Ode to Viceroy’ arrives next in line. The cut wakes from its slumber groggily amidst a haze of guitar strokes and bass stabs. This is a song that touches on a theme familiar to every smoker – indulging in something you know is deadly, i.e. cigarettes, ‘And oh, don’t let me see you crying / ‘Cause oh, honey, I’ll smoke you ’til I’m dying.’ That’s deep, mayne.
‘Robson Girl’ possesses another tripped-out, luscious guitar, a song that appears to be about a relationship that didn’t work out – ‘maybe when we’re older / we can try this over.’ The second half develops into a noisier jam. ‘The Stars Keep on Calling Me Name’ is light and breezy before we’re met by the wonderful love song ‘My Kind of Woman.’ You can just imagine DeMarco crooning this through a cloud of cigarette smoke – it has that gauzy feel to it (the actual music video is just a tad more bizarre!) A really cool song.
‘Boe Zaah’ is brief but pleasurable, seeming to stagger to a finish, drunk on its own melancholia. My personal favourite, ‘Sherril,’ comes after, a really enchanting track with a very ethereal sound effect in the background during the opening and again at the chorus. I love the way the riff changes so fluidly between verse and refrain.
‘Still Together’ closes out the album on an acoustic note. This shrill chorus on this annoyed me a bit when I first heard it but it’s grown on me a lot – an endearing little number.
This is real summer music, tunes to play out while you’re cloud watching in the park, the sun’s blazing and you’ve nothing special to be doing in particular. Also great to listen to to unwind in the evenings after the stress of work. DeMarco’s music is just so warm and welcoming – it’s an invitation to kick back that you won’t be able to turn down.
Standout tracks: ‘Dreamin’,’ ‘Freaking Out The Neighbourhood,’ ‘Ode To Viceroy,’ ‘My Kind Of Woman,’ ‘Sherril’