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Mac – A Love Letter

– by Nick Morlet

Man, Mac DeMarco is a big cutie. When he’s not cooking up a storm, hosting charity bbq/listening parties in Brooklyn, or unleashing wacky on-stage antics to helpless crowds the world over (think butt stuff, think mouth-kissing freaky new Zealanders), Mac can be found at 6802 Bayfield ave, Arverne new york, if the closing moments of his new mini-LP Another One are to be believed and man am I tempted to accept his invitation to drop on by. For a few years now Mac has curated a persona unlike any other in the music industry – whether intentionally or not – but his bong-ripping slacker-boy affect belies a young musician with an intense work ethic and demonstrable talent in songwriting and in production. His most recent releases: the instrumental ‘Bbq Playlist’ Some Other Ones, shared online July 8th and the highly anticipated mini-album Another One, released late last week. These are two very strong cuts, but for different reasons.

Another One is a worthy successor to 2014’s ripper Salad Days, providing fans and newcomers alike with another eight consummately chill jangle-pop tracks; mac’s tasty riffs and crooning vocals transporting listeners to a green-screen luau. It’s a familiar and comforting sound to all Mac fans, though he ensures this album remains fresh and exciting, varying between ecstatic sing-alongs like ‘Just To Put Me Down’ and ‘No Other Heart,’ and quieter, more contemplative slow jams like “A Heart Like Hers” and “Another One”. Critics will continue to harp on about how samey his songs might be, but fuck those haters: it’s not a matter of homogeneity but of a unity and consistency in his style, that’s lacking in many young bands. Much like his first two albums, Another One provides excellent playlist additions, his earnest melodies best suited to casual afternoon drinks, chills by the pool or at the beach or anything else essentially that requires sunshine and time on your hands.

Conversely, Some Other Ones show Mac boldly leaping into sonic territory he had only dabbled in beforehand, on tracks like ‘Chamber of Reflection’ or recent single ‘Another One.’ While his main discography can be broadly attributed to the east coast surfer rock canon, his demo releases and Some Other Ones have Mac experimenting with a very specific but elusive sound, somewhere between elevator music, 70’s Japanese synthpop and early electronic music. His making-of clip for Another One is fairly telling in this respect: “this is my kinda music!” he yells to the tom jones hit coming out his car stereo, and even his equipment’s straight out of that era – a Roland Juno-60 synthesizer and a beaten-up Stratocaster laid down on an 8-track reel-to-reel. It’s like sped-up vaporware: it’s post-ironic, it’s new-sincere, it tastes like pomo consumer culture and it’s freaking delicious.

In the case of Another One, it’s all in the title; the guitar tunings are still wacky, the drum lines are still simple, the bass is still groovin’ and Mac’s freewheeling croon is still harping on about love. likewise, Some Other Ones really does feel like ‘some other ones’: a freer, more creative outlet for mac’s strange version of pop music. It feels like these two albums are two sides of the same coin, paying out modern counter-culture’s obsession with irony and self-awareness. This idea of anti-rebellion is nothing new, but Mac balances this inevitable engagement with the current discourse with a carefree, ‘i’m-just-kooky-guy-making-my-kinda-music’ attitude: for all his cool-guy posturing onstage, in interviews and related media, Mac DeMarco comes across as a legitimately polite, affable guy, who keeps a level head despite his rapidly expanding fan base. For Mac, indie stardom is just a byproduct in his pursuit of the chillest, nicest sound, and he’d be just as happy messing with organ settings in his arverne domicile than shredding up the biggest festival stages.

Mac holds a strange authority over a live audience, like some sort of guru of chill, where the secret to cool party times might be found in his masterfully sloppy guitar solos, or in that fucking gap of his front teeth. I’d hasten to say his newest tracks would be some of the best to deliver to a crowd, as they best demonstrate a broad range of the many interesting, comforting and surprising aspects of Mac. Let’s hope that zany boy from Edmonton, Alberta, continues to entertain and enlighten audiences for many years to come.

 

Photo Credit: Mac DeMarco

 

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