With his colourful 2012 debut full-length, 2, and even more colourful persona, Mac DeMarco earned a reputation as the merry prankster of indie rock. And while he will hopefully forever hold on to that designation, on his new album, Salad Days, Mac should earn more credit as a perceptive, extremely affable singer-songwriter.
It's always been easy to blur the line between Mac's antics and his music, but on Salad Days it becomes a lot clearer. He's honed his skills to write wonderfully weird, often gentle pop songs. Admitting he chose not to mess too much with his sound, the focus is still on that blue-eyed soulful voice whispering whimsical, self-mocking songs draped in jangly, "jizz jazz" guitars.
That isn't to say it's simply a more polished rehash of 2. He balances out the pisstakes with sober observations, getting self-reflective on the synth-thumping "Passing Out Pieces," by confronting uncertainty about his newfound celebrity: "What mom don't know has taken its toll on me… it's hard to believe what it's made of me." On "Blue Boy," he offsets the breezy strums and chill vibes by his listing off his "worries," and both "Treat Her Better" and "Let Her Go" find Mac lecturing a friend about love.
Mac DeMarco might be the wild and crazy showman on stage, but Salad Days shows there's plenty of tenderness behind that shit-eating, gap-toothed grin. With that, however, comes hearing how supremely buzzed he sounds throughout, which reassures us that even though he can write an affecting song, at least he won't ever take himself too seriously.
Read our cover story on Mac DeMarco here. (Captured Tracks)