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It’s hard not to love the cheeky Canadian Mac DeMarco and his unique jizz-jazz chorus infused stylings. Having developed a cult following over the years for his weird antics (most notably penning a love song to his favourite brand of cigarettes) and more recently winning over the hearts of punters all over Australia at St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival (which he brought his mum along to), there’s no surprise why his upcoming album Another One is so highly anticipated. He’s one of those artists who has built a career on being completely himself and creates excitement through us never knowing what we’re going to get with each new release.
The much loved Mac DeMarco (sans mother) is back with the mini-album Another One. While not as prolific as his previous work, it still has that classic Mac charm.
Before I delve into the great but slightly confusing album that is Another One, let’s have a little flashback to his previous albums. Mac DeMarco’s most recent record Salad Days was only released last year and it’s still highly acclaimed for being a modern reinvention of trippy 1970’s psych-rock. Not only was this album the definition of cruisy summer days, it cleverly represented the Shakespearean idiom ‘salad days’ as DeMarco led us through stories of youth, naivety and idealism.
To put it simply, Salad Days was genius. His previous album 2 came out in 2012 as his sophomore release, and ended up being the album that showcased the singer-songwriter’s talents on an international stage. To this day Freaking Out the Neighbourhood and Ode to Viceroy still top the list of fan favourites.
Following two damn good releases with an album that was adventurously made in under a year is hard. Another One isn’t bad at all – in fact there’s a few moments of the typical Mac genius that we know and love – but it does feel a little rushed. Where his previous works have one or two themes strung coherently together through each song, Another One instead has moments of relevance contrasted with a few wildcard elements that just leave a series of question marks in my mind.
The Way You’d Love Her is DeMarco’s classic slacker rock sound, the kind that makes you feel like you’re on vacation wherever you’re listening from. With his signature twangy guitar hooks and soft rolling vocals, the singer tells the story of a man who didn’t get the chance to show his lady how much he loved her, before breaking into a groovy little instrumental bridge.
The title track Another One comes next, showcasing Mac DeMarco’s emotional sensibility as he warbles on about feeling confused in a relationship where the woman must have another lover. Despite its down-tempo nature, the song is warm with electric piano chords and a mature acceptance of the situation. As the main single, Another One sets the tone of the album and does so by introducing the idea of lost love, or love never gained in the first place.
Without Me, one of the more full sounding songs on the album, excels in being both beautiful and heart-wrenching as DeMarco croons “Will she find love again tomorrow? I don’t know, I hope so. And that’s fine, fine by me, as long as I know she’s happy, without me” against a backdrop of shaky guitar reverb. Another highlight includes A Heart Like Her’s, a hazy number with oozing Chamber of Reflection-esque guitar licks.
DeMarco’s melancholy love stories are clever and quirky, yet widely relatable. Overall the album presents a more mature sound than we’ve heard previously, and is far more reflective than his average jangly tune. However, some songs (namely No Other Heart and I’ve Been Waiting for Her) lack DeMarco’s usual depth, working as nice tracks to listen to but not really adding much to the album’s whole. Plus things really get weird by the final song.
My House By The Water is a simple song comprised of trippy, slightly creepy guitar chords over water sound effects – a complete turnaround from the unrequited love theme running through the bones of Another One. The song carries on with relatively no build up until the last seconds where DeMArco himself finally says “6802 Bayfield Ave, Far Rockaway, New York. Stop on by, I’ll make you a cup of coffee. See you later.” Yes, that is his real US address and yes, over 30 people have taken him up on that offer so far. It’s slightly confusing and slightly lovely, but that’s just Mac DeMarco for you.
Mac DeMarco’s fourth studio album Another One is set to be released in Australia on August 7 via Spunk Records.
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