Here he comes again, wearer of North America's filthiest dungarees, that gap toothed smile presumably still intact. Last year's 'Another One' had him a little more measured and melancholy and certainly the first two tracks teased from this have a similar hushed vibe but with that twanging jangling guitar and warm mid fi pop sound intact.
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Whoever makes Mac DeMarco’s decisions for him certainly knew what they were doing when they teased the opening brace of songs from this album before letting anything else slip out. And it’s not just because I’ve had a couple of months to listen to these two but they are the best thing here by a gap the size of the hole that resides between Mac’s two front teeth. ‘My Old Man’ and especially the wonderfully orchestrated ‘This Old Dog’ are beautiful acoustic songs full of regret and a reflection hitherto unseen in Mac’s rather happy-go-lucky career to date. If the album was full of such wonders I may be ready to dish out a 9 and suggest this was a bleak mid career highlight comparable to Beck’s ‘Sea Change’ but from ‘Baby You’re Out’ onwards the album returns to the sort of perky 'will-this-do?' ditties that ensured ‘Another One’ was the first Mac album I didn’t buy.
Sure it’s much more melancholy than his previous work and sure there are real highlights. ’Still Beating’ is a gorgeous semi ballad with the sort of carefree summery feel that DeMarco excels in and ‘One More Love Song’ is the best thing here bar the opening couple - the sort of twinkly dusky soulful ballad that has something of Lambchop’s ’Nixon’ flowing through it’s grooves. But elsewhere I’m either bored or frustrated. The sluggish ‘For the First Time’ is particularly bad with some awful synth dominating a forgettable song which offers nothing to the listener, ‘One Another’ is De Marco by numbers - pleasant but inconsequential with a free and easy melody that suggests if he’s not careful he could become this generations Jimmy Buffet and if De Marco listened again to ‘Rumours’ he’d realise that ’Sister’ has nicked ’Songbird’s’ melody verbatim.
He certainly still has lots to offer but I feel he’s smooth sailed through this album. If he could create more magical moments like the first two tracks then I’m ready and willing to be re-convinced.
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- This Old Dog by Mac DeMarco
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