Ode to Mac Demarco

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Mac Demarco |Salad Days|

Behind Mac Demarco’s gap-toothed and “slacker” type demeanour lays actually this genuinely eccentric and colourful personality that draws you in just as his music does.  Anyone who was lucky enough to catch him in Singapore quite some time ago might understand what I’m trying to say. He’s lucky enough to be able to rouse you with his charisma and even luckier to do so with his artistic work. Demarco may have made his way into the indie rock scene with his individualistic debut ‘Rock and Roll Night Club’ but maintained his impact in the scene with “2”.

“2”’s growth from “Rock and Roll Night Club” definitely conveyed the person Demarco is and his willingness to open up to his listeners. The standard expectations of a second LP after a successful debut should overwhelm a musician with a mounting pressure but Demarco ably brushes it off and makes space for innovation probably prompting one his more successful singles “Ode to Viceroy,” a chill track perfect for the typical Sunday mornings with of course, a cigarette at hand. Demarco’s ability to make something hazardous, like a cigarette, come out to be laid-back and easy is undeniably impressive.

The essence of “2” is heard here in the title track, almost like a continuation of “Cooking Up Something Good.” First with the bouncy verses leading to the long drawn-out chorus and lyrics pertaining to a supposedly dead-end life he’s living. “Blue Boy” one of the stronger tracks in the LP is nicely structured, twinkly guitar twangs and warm drumbeats brought together amiably with casual vocals singing not to worry about your haircut. “Brother” the more sedate track comes off as shiftless and uninspiring however. The abrupt climax of it doesn’t exactly excite either with just Demarco softly wailing. “Goodbye Weekend” is recycled from “Blue Boy” but its similarity is what makes it likeable. “Let My Baby Stay” is a humdrum of an acoustic track not showing much of his lyrical chops. “Treat Her Better,” another acoustic work from the man is more spontaneous and compelling.

Demarco tries to come out of his comfort zone of clever guitar coordination and touches on the sound of synthesizers. “Passing Out Pieces” might be the lesser of the two synthesized tracks when compared to “Chamber of Reflection,” almost resembling an inferior Tame Impala. The latter track however, is a pleasant surprise. It gives off an ambience of being in a disco back in the 70’s boogieing to a Lionel Richie classic. You almost have to double-check that it is in fact a Mac Demarco track. The track just goes to show that the man is capable of notable experimentation.

The LP does not leave you riveted though and feels as though Demarco ran out of material. But I do believe that with his musical flair and a few more listens to “Go Easy” and “Johnny’s Odyssey,” I might be able to be swayed and call “Salad Days” an immaculate LP, but for now, I’m not too convinced just yet.

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