Mac DeMarco (photo by Maria Louceiro, PR)
Captured Tracks Records
Mac DeMarco, who released his second album in 2014, the critically praised Salad Days, has carved a distinct niche for himself. Over the past few years, the Canadian singer and songwriter has also released short “mini-albums,” like this summer’s all-instrumental Some Other Ones, that only occasionally exceed a half hour in length. More substantial than the typical EP, the brevity of these releases tends to keep them from feeling like fully formed albums, but they are still cohesive ideas.
The latest of these lo-fi efforts is Another One, an eight-song collection that falls just short of twenty-four minutes. DeMarco now lives in New York and Another One, is a D.I.Y. project recorded in his home in Far Rockaway, Queens. The collection of simple and gently catchy tunes, which he presents in a quirky, homemade fashion, reflects not just DeMarco’s fine pop songcraft but his playful, goofball personality too. The multi-instrumentalist accompanies his vocals with shaky electric guitar, wobbly keyboards and drums.
Like the varied aspects of love and the emotions it generates, Another One has a spontaneous, laid-back and unpredictable feel, as if DeMarco, who wrote the songs during a tour break, whipped up each tune on the spot. In a reverb-drenched voice, DeMarco questions the faithfulness of his lover in the synth-laden title track, while her mean-spiritedness is addressed in “Just To Put Me Down?”
“Without Me” documents post-relationship loneliness and longing whereas “No Other Heart” is a marvelous pop song, possessing a bass line that reveals DeMarco’s considerable musical chops. Another One closes with “My House By The Water,” which is just that: a dark instrumental in which DeMarco plays a slow, seemingly out-of-tune keyboard part over the sounds of nearby Jamaica Bay lapping at the shoreline by his home. Eccentric, but endearingly likeable, DeMarco, in a show of either extreme friendliness or foolhardiness, even provides his home address and invites his fans to come over for a cup of coffee!
Mac DeMarco’s less-is-more approach and his willingness to create his art in an unorthodox manner makes him an important figure on the indie rock landscape. With the continued quality of his minimalist music and his prolific releases, he remains, with a goofy smile, at pop’s cutting edge.