Mac DeMarco has come a long way since his auditorily-warped sound of 2012’s Rock and Roll Night Club. The voice you hear is no longer subjected to pitch-shifting, his style has solidified and his stock has only risen during his semi-meteoric rise of late. His humble origins in British Columbia, Canada (going by the pseudonym of ‘Makeout Videotape’) are far behind him and the three-year interim between 2012’s 2 (his debut studio recording) and this year’s Another One (a title that is simultaneously a tongue-in-cheek self-detrimental jibe and a sorrowful realisation) have seen DeMarco smoothly transition from cigarette-obsessed weirdo to oddball sweetheart.
Last year’s Salad Days captured the attention of a myriad of music listeners and allowed his continued critical success. This has led to a slight change. His old, beaten-up shit-heap of a guitar (which he bought for about C$30) has been put aside and he’s now playing Fender Stratocasters; the use of which, apparently, is the sign that someone has ‘made it’. But, aside from the improved instrumentation, DeMarco’s style has also seen a slight shift; to the melancholy.
DeMarco’s lyrical themes have always been dichotomous in nature – with songs being written to his two sweethearts Kiki (his long-suffering girlfriend) and Lady Nicotine. While some songs as “My Kind of Woman” have a seriousness to them, there have always been the upbeat, strange musings of “Ode to Viceroy” and “Cooking up Something Good” to balance out the two sides to his personality. The former side to his personality seems to have won out on Another One with many of the songs on the eight track mini-album seeing a seriousness unparalleled in DeMarco’s previous material.
Musically, the album is in the same vein as the nicotine-stained one’s other works – a style he refers to as ‘jizz-jazz’. His penchant for jangle-y, off-kilter pop is still heavily prevalent, but from the opening remarks of “The Way You’d Love Her”, it is clear that DeMarco’s outlook has shifted slightly. He gives advice to someone who has left the girl he loved by the wayside as he asks them “How’s your heart been beating? / How’s your skin been keeping?”. This marks a theme of lost love that carries through much of Another One as the titular track sees this situation from the other side of the page – as someone who has lost their significant other; as there “must be another one”. Aside from the lyrics of the track, “The Way You’d Love Her” follows a musical 90o turn that was predicated by “Passing Out Pieces” on Salad Days as guitar isn’t the focal part of the composition – instead the six-string is replaced by phase-heavy keyboards (which make cameo appearances elsewhere on the record).
When DeMarco’s axe is in his hands however, it is clear that he’s been greatly inspired by his Steely idols as the solos on Another One are much more complex in nature than in most of his work. His capability has never been in question (just take a listen to the madness that ensues on “Ode to Viceroy” or “Robson Girl”), but on such songs as “Just to Put Me Down” and “I’ve Been Waiting For Her”, there’s a newly renewed vigour on show; something that instils positivity in DeMarco’s mind-set (as he’s clearly moved away from the downtrodden tour-tired mentality he exhibited on Salad Days). This is, really, the only obvious departure from his 2014 work though.
While considering the ‘bigger picture’, Another One isn’t even a stone’s throw away from the style of his previous works. We’re still hearing similar sounds to his previous two albums – and this new mini-album doesn’t overwhelm a listener with drastically different themes. What this recording does do competently however, is tide over existing Mac DeMarco fans until his next full release. Seven songs of newly recorded material (alongside an eighth track of environmental recordings attached to an invitation to have coffee at his house – complete with his address) will do many people just fine as DeMarco prepares his next album.
You might also like
More from Reviews
Singer-songwriter and producer Leaone brings us his second EP titled 'Wild Horse Ride On' via Fierce Panda. His debut release, Oh, My …