Mac DeMarco, 'Blue Boy'
Info: Canadian and Brooklyn resident Mac DeMarco releases his second album, Salad Days as a follow up to his 2012, critically acclaimed debut 2. DeMarco is the son of an opera singing mother and grandson of a jazz playing grandfather, but it wasn't until the age of 14 that he took a keen interest in music, and quickly realised he had a talent and love for song-writing. Whilst he seemed to revel in the bemusement that greeted his bizarre live shows, at which the audience came to expect flashes of nudity and other strange behaviour, his second album sees him facing increased attention from the music world and a shuffle toward seriousness is reflected as a result. Whilst NME and Pitchfork both poured praise on his first album (Pitchfork put it in their Top 50 for 2013) others, including The Guardian acknowledged his undoubted talent but felt there were certain elements missing.
DeMarco is certainly a playful eccentric, his devil may care physical appearance and lifestyle (he lives in a small box-room apartment on the periphery of Brooklyn, one bemused journalist described lit scented candles on a visit desperately trying to hide the stench of cigarette smoke) are well known at this stage and it will be interesting to see how he copes with international recognition that is sure to follow the release of Salad Days. Hopefully his persona will be enough to avoid him deviating from what has so far been a winning formula, in the words of the man himself; "Knowing that people are expecting something is just going to drive you insane. That was part of the record, finding a way to have fun with it again, pushing all that bullshit to the side, because if you go into it thinking, 'I've got to make something better than my last one', or, 'I've got to please these people' – fuck that, what's the point of doing it in the first place?"
How to describe his music? Well, it's certainly in the jangle pop genre, reminiscent of 80's & 90's acts such as The Cure, The Smiths, The Lemonheads and the first one that struck me, the brilliant Birmingham band, Felt. One distinct difference however is while the aforementioned mostly had a serious tone and dry humour, DeMarco's music is more relaxed and upbeat, that's not to say it's entirely positive in tone, it does have some more serious themes. On the first single, 'Passing Out Pieces' he seems to question his past and the consequences his actions might have had, but ultimately concludes that that's life;
Watching my life, passing right in front of my eyesHell of a story, oh is it boring?
Can’t claim to care, never been reluctant to share
Passing out pieces of me, don’t you know nothing comes free?
What mom don’t know has taken its toll on me
It’s all I’ve seen that can’t be wiped clean
It’s hard to believe what it’s made of me
In addition to 'Passing Out Pieces' the two openers are wonderful, 'Salad Days' and second track 'Blue Boy' (above video) get lodged in your head after one listen. 'Chamber of Reflection', the ninth track is also a stand out, all in all it's difficult to not see Salad Days doing well, and it's hazy, summery vibe has come along just in the nick of time. If I was to give it a rating I'd go for 3.5/5, but it smells like a grower. At present there appears to be no Dublin tour dates, only U.K. and Western Europe, but if you like the above tracks, I highly recommend checking out 'Ode To Viceroy' and 'My Kind of Lady' from his first album.
Salad Days is out today, 1st of April (no, really, it is)