‘Mac Demarco is the musical equivalent of going downhill on a bike in the sunshine.’
Twitter user @BigDirtyFry says in 15 words what listeners, reviewers, and musicians alike have been trying to do for a while now – describe the music of Canadian singer-songwriter and musician Mac DeMarco. His earlier work, particularly 2012’s Rock and Roll Nightclub and 2014’s Salad Days, have that impression of glaring sunlight, distorted colours and a warped musical landscape. His latest material presents more of a sunset, a wild day’s drinking has passed, and you’re long-boarding home to your studio apartment in a hip Canadian town where your girlfriend awaits with guacamole and a French New Wave film. In other words (that make sense if you haven’t listened to the album), Another One is DeMarco growing up, a penultimate chapter in his coming of age novel, his masterpiece. So far.
DeMarco announced the release of Another One back in April of this year, and on the day in question I remember my boyfriend reading aloud ‘Mac DeMarco to release album later this year’, to which I replied ‘another one!?’. It makes sense to award this eight-track mini-LP this title, as all DeMarco seems to be doing is writing, recording, producing, and releasing music. He lives and breathes his own unique sound, which is precisely how he has come to master it. Another One is dreamy, airy, and feels like you’re wading through water from start to finish. It’s gorgeous, like a bike ride, like a strange and wonderful painting of a sunset made by a five-year-old; brilliant colours with smudgy fingerprints all over it.
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‘The Way You Love Her’ kicks off the album with familiar wavy dissonant guitar lines and sleepy vocals. Much like previous efforts, it’s catchy but with that extra something underlying, strange and familiar like listening to a really old vinyl record that’s a little bent out of shape. The whole album is contained within this sort of warpy space, the outskirts of the dream-pop-rock-vapour-wave genre, but is entirely the most sincere effort from DeMarco so far. ‘No Other Heart’ is a straight up earnest love song, with simple and heartbreaking lyrics, more sincere than any attempt before. It’s a gorgeous song.
Fans of Mac will know the strange relationship the artist shares with us, leading to a situation where more than simply liking this album, you feel proud of him, like your friend who had been drinking a little too much after a tough break-up but then starts painting and puts on an art show and it’s great. The close of the album is a message from that friend, inviting you over to his (absolutely real) place in New York where he’ll ‘make you a cup of coffee’. That’s the kind of guy Mac is, and the kind of artist he is. He seems to take nothing for granted, remains completely humble and charmingly odd, and just wants to hang out with you, and maybe go for a bike ride downhill in the sun.