There's already one Mac Demarco out there, creating great records and causing chaos in the live arena. From the sounds of the opening track here, we have another. It's identikit. However Travis proves he has more in his locker with some sweet '80s influenced jangle pop that nods towards Orange Juice and maybe Felt. Depending on how it grows this could be this years jangly summery treat.
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The press release can try its best but it’s battling in vain against the blatantly obvious. It can name Prefab Sprout, Aztec Camera or whoever you like but there’s so getting away from it - the opening and closing tracks on this album from this pastoral American songwriter sound so much like Mac DeMarco that they might as well put a gap in their teeth, wear dungarees and don a baseball cap.
Opener ‘Giving Up’ has that jaunty trebly guitar sound and the plaintive vocals that seeps through DeMarco’s work. Closer ‘Good Times’ is also rather too close to the work of DeMarco with that straining, stretching lead guitar tangling round a summery pop tune. Strangely, elsewhere, it doesn’t sound that much like Mac DeMarco, and for all the gripes about the similarities, when Bretzer doesn’t sound like Mac De Marco, he’s less impressive. ‘Idle By’ is a lovely soporific summery treat though, full of plangent guitars and heat hazed melodies. The record has a very similar feel to last year's laid back summer pop highlight, Steven Steinbrink’s ‘Arranged Waves’. ‘Promises’ is a good example of where I feel the album falls short: the chorus doesn’t really hit as true as you are expecting and the song wanders around hooks rather than delivering them into your ear inbox with a cherry on top. ‘Lonely Heart’ uses sweeping '70s melodies and e-bowed guitar - it's pleasant but you ain’t going to be singing this in the shower - and by the time ‘Story Book’ comes along, I’m bored.
So what we have here is basically a Mac DeMarco sandwich with a filling bursting with early '80s/C86 sounding mumbly pop, plus Nilsson-like lounge-pop. Inspired in places, but I’m not sure if it has enough about it to make it the soundtrack to my summer.
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