Upon first hearing Mac DeMarco on his debut LP 2 in 2012, I was so engrossed by his lazy yet likeable, sloth-like yet soothing sound, that I had no time nor desire to picture what this conscious creator of stoner anthems looked like. I certainly didn’t think his presence or demeanor would factor into the likeability of his music.
Yet somehow it just does.
DeMarco has proven to be quite the character, and overtime earned a questionable reputation due to his vulgar displays of infantile behaviour at his shows. And whether this adds to your repulsion or attraction, it certainly adds to intrigue. And with his new album, Salad Days taking an even more beautiful and lethargic approach, it’s hard to imagine how these two strong yet contradictory personalities co-exist in one man.
Salad Days, despite DeMarco’s portrayal of the opposite, offers a more mature sound than his last two records. Slower and more somber, the songs come easy yet more proficient; dirty yet romantic. The Edmonton native does well to bear himself without bearing too much. The songs seem more reflective and personally concerned, with hazy guitars and steady drum beats to keep you from thinking too hard. The album almost dismisses the don’t-care attitude seen from DeMarco before, being replaced with tunes that only sound chill and whimsical but convey something deeper and more relevant.
Standout tracks include title track ‘Salad Days’, a light, hippie soundtrack to self-awareness. The first single, ‘Passing Out Pieces’, is one of those reflective tunes you can sing along to, while instantly relating to DeMarco’s disconnection from others.
The melancholic and beautiful ‘Let My Baby Stay’ puts DeMarco’s feelings in the open, and offers a sound so bashful and timid, you get the feeling recording the track was challenging for the artist. The song became even more endearing when DeMarco told Pitchfork the track was written about his girlfriend’s immigrant status in the Brooklyn home they share.
‘Johnny’s Odyssey’, an instrumental track, shows off DeMarco’s production skills as he gives each instrument its own character and experience. The stoner love song, ‘Treat Her Better’ is a sweet and lazy, ’90s rock-influenced, and youthful display of maturity. The adorable ‘Go Easy’ is musically proficient with soothing and dexterous guitars under easy vocals and repetitive lyrics.
DeMarco is a character, yes, but Salad Days seems to be a character all its own.
Mac DeMarco’s Salad Days is currently available on iTunes.
Check out his website for current updates and touring info!