Mac DeMarco – This Old Dog Review 


In his latest studio album, Mac Demarco brings a more relaxed approach than 2014s ‘Salad Days,’ something which I didn’t even think was possible. The album follows the trend of laid-back music, with deep, meaningful lyricism. However, where in the past Demarco went all out on production, this one is very simple with production, giving more power to the lyrics themselves. The album maintains similar traits to his previous work, but employs them differently, allowing for an entirely different experience overall.

​The opening song, ‘My Old Man,’ is a brilliant example of this lyricism. The song itself is one that is very simple musically, including nothing more than an acoustic guitar and a gentle drum beat in the background. The vocals on this particular track contain a degree of passion and reflection to them, making my genuinely think about the meaning behind them. The repeated line “looks like I’m seeing more of my old man in me” leaves genuine pause for thought, and Demarco utilises his voice perfectly here. Similarly, ‘This Old Dog’ is another simplistic, yet powerful track. The lyrics in this sense provide a commentary on human emotion, and is yet more proof that Demarco’s “less is more” approach is effective and meaningful.

​’Still Beating’ provides more in terms of production, and if you have listened to ‘Salad Days,’ will definitely feel more familiar. However, whilst maintaining the high production, it feels somewhat different due to the more cynical application in Demarco’s vocals. ‘On The Level’ also utilises high production and has a tune that stays with you even after the song s finished. There is a distinct uniqueness to the song itself, with it being a clear stand out on the album. The production is matched with simplistic lyrics and vocals that come together to make a good solid piece of music.

​’This Old Dog’ is a good, strong outing by Mac Demarco. Whilst sill keeping familiarities with his previous works, Demarco has made something that seems unique due to its effectiveness. Whilst creative, the album does sometimes lack in variety when it comes to the music itself. However, if you were to sit back, relax and take a listen to the powerful lyrics on each track, you would certainly have a thoughtful and meaningful experience.  

Mac Demarco – This Old Dog = 8/10

Matthew T. Johnston

Single Review – Mac DeMarco – On The Level

Previously, Mac Demarco has merely dipped his toe into any exploration of serene synth music, but in his latest single, previewing May’s This Old Dog, his echoic vocals are fully submerged in it. And likening the track to some kind of undulant body of water sums it up nicely. It’s subtle and brooding, with the constant flux of throbbing synths backing a piercing hook and the ethereal voice of Demarco, giving On The Level it’s relaxed rippled air. Demarco himself has described it as Chamber of Reflection’s “sister song”, reflecting his only justifiably synth-centred track’s ghostly moodiness. Yet, On The Level has strong mature undertones that not only haven’t been explored to this extent throughout his back catalogue, but also wouldn’t be expected from an artist so familiar with scandal. It mulls over the inevitability of growing older and taking on the responsibilities his father took on. The track reaches its contemplative close with a repetition of the title; a fitting conclusion, with which I can imagine Demarco dwelling on the future these new responsibilities hold. It’s pensive, considered and cleverly composed.

Eleanor Chivers 

Single Reviews – Mac DeMarco – My Old Man, This Old Dog

The Canadian born singer songwriter Mac DeMarco with his almost trademark jangle pop sound has been a easy listen for many, especially with his first two albums and latest EP. He suggested different methods with ‘Chamber of Reflection’ for example, but not a change is tone for he endeavoured to maintain his lax and chilled out sound. With his third studio album as Mac DeMarco, he is looking to go for a similar shift. With This Old Dog out on May 5th, Mac talked of using a purer acoustic sound but with synth and drum machine additions. This is certainly a shift that could prove interesting and yield results, but many factors could trip up even the most established of acts. 

Of the two singles he released this week, the title track is true to the purest sense of an acoustic style and though not identical to his jangling style, there isn’t a huge divergence between the two sounds. It still recounts his strengths of loose delivery and intimate vocals, but other than a light warping guitar in the background, there isn’t a huge amount to delve into here. ‘My Old Man’ is more representative of what he was suggesting with soft electronic beats woven throughout the song with an oscillating acoustic riff. It is all a subtle shift and this is perhaps dictated by his unchanged tone which perhaps stifles any major difference. Having said that he has enhanced the peculiar nature of these tracks and this includes the lyrics that operate between the eccentric and personally familiar. It’ll take a full album to place his changes accurately as there’s no definitive answer here.

Owen Riddle

Mac DeMarco – Another One Review

The scruffy enigma that is Mac DeMarco releases his new “mini LP” Another One on August 7th and it has so far looked to have not strayed far from his previous album Salad Days in 2014. The lyrical content has certainly been geared more towards Romance than it’s predecessor but for me it seems this album is a fan album in that it hasn’t strayed far from recent familiar territory. You never know what you might find with Mac though…

The title track features warped, drenched synths, nudging organs and feathered percussion that all deliver the hazy and laid back feel synonymous with the Canadian. His earthy yet wistful vocals echo back into the instrumentation to only add to the hazy feel and it will be a perfect track for lazy summer days and seems happily familiar territory for Mac DeMarco. ‘I’ve Been Waiting For Her’ and continues in a similar direction to his other singles with sprung riffs and a rotating rhythm with Mac’s zany and off-centre vocals and backing vocals gently nudging themselves to the forefront of the song. It’s a song to undoubtedly appeal to anyone who enjoyed Salad Days and there isn’t much scope beyond that. It still demonstrates the small intricacies of Mac DeMarco though. ‘The Way You’d Love Her’ is centred around the bending, wiry riff that Mac DeMarco has almost made his own. From this he generates a slowly meandering rhythm and melody with which Mac’s lyrics are fitted between each twinge of guitar as his slightly washed out vocals smooth out the melodic curves of the track.

‘A Heart Like Hers’  progresses and moves via and warped, dragging synth accentuated by that wiry riff to direct the song through it’s course. From this musical base echoes Mac’s ghostly, faded vocals and a repetitive vocal. A song for zoning out to but not much more. Despite the album having a very similar base of instrumentation, ‘No Other Heart features a more delicate rhythms wrapped around a more prominent bass-line and basic, yet quirky lyrical developments. Tracks like ‘Just To Put Me Down’ and ‘Without You’ are tracks that are evocative of most of the tracks on this album and you become a little tiresome of that wiry riff with these songs and you have to be in a particular idle mood to enjoy most of this album for what it’s worth. The album is still a more than decent effort, just nothing you haven’t heard before. Fans of Salad Days will enjoy this.

Mac DeMarco – Another One = 7/10

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

Single Review – Mac DeMarco – I’ve Been Waiting For Her

A consummate professional in the field of madness and being laid back, Mac DeMarco releases another track from his upcoming mini-LP Another One which is out on August 7th. The new track is ‘I’ve Been Waiting For Her’ and continues in a similar direction to his other singles with sprung riffs and a rotating rhythm with Mac’s zany and off-centre vocals and backing vocals gently nudging themselves to the forefront of the song. It’s a song to undoubtedly appeal to anyone who enjoyed Salad Days and there isn’t much scope beyond that, which is perhaps why it is being understated as a ‘mini’ LP. Either way you can still enjoy the quirks and little eccentricities of Mac DeMarco with this track.

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

Single Review – Mac DeMarco – Another One

The enigmatic Mac DeMarco recently released another track off his upcoming mini-LP Another One that’s expected on August 7th. It was the turn of the title track this time and it’s very much in a similar vain of the previous single and not too far from the his Salad Days album. It’s warped, drenched synths, nudging organs and feathered percussion all deliver that hazy and laid back feel synonymous with the Canadian. His earthy yet wistful vocals echo back into the instrumentation to only add to the hazy feel and it will be a perfect track for lazy summer days and seems happily familiar territory for Mac DeMarco.

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

This Week’s Music Video with Future Islands, Foals, Hurts, Mac DeMarco & Beirut

Single Reviews – Widowspeak – All Yours & Girls

The Brooklyn based duo of Molly Hamilton and Robert Earl Thomas make up Widowspeak; a hazy, shoegazing band lead by the soft tones of Hamilton and the lapping guitars of Thomas. They have recently announced the release of their third studio album titled All Yours for a September 4th release and two tracks from the upcoming album as well. The title track is steady with a subtle groove much like the style of Mac DeMarco of recent times, but with this are soft-edged ringing guitars and of course Molly’s soothing vocals to make for a calm and wonderfully idling track. ‘Girls’ carries on this theme with more prominent percussion and a rolling bass-line and a wiry guitar solo. This ushers in a growing and living sound which ever so subtly nudges it’s way up a notch with control and discipline. Another easy listening track to kick-back too and two tracks to make up the soundtrack to your summer.

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

Single Review – Mac Demarco – Chamber of Reflection

This is Mac Demarco. A Canadian singer songwriter who is a best a complex character. But that is the appeal of wonder of the guy and it is this off beat nature that he applies to his performances, music and promotion. A recent ode to this was the release of the video to his single ‘Chamber of Relfection’ from his third studio album ‘Salad Days’. His second under the guise of Mac Demarco. Of the track he spoke of the freemasonry references and how it likened to being in his studio and spending his days in there, saying “It was actually therapeutic. I feel a little enlightened, a little less heavy.” In the video, the track has been set to a speed two times slower than the speed it was recorded. Played at normal speed, the track is rich and undulating synth soaking. Drenched in hovering organ sounds, a low lying bass line and distorted percussion from which the main synth melodies slide off with their warping and whirling rustic nature. It’s a track cut from the same mould of Connan Mockasin’s most recent work, but one that is delivered so well and with such individuality that it works. The rich, soaking feel of the track is only double in the slow speed version too. Both work and both fit in to the mind-set of Mac Demarco.

 

This Week’s Music Video with Beck, Lana Del Rey, Janelle Monae, Franz Ferdinand and Mac DeMarco

Beck – Heart Is a Drum

 

Lana Del Rey – Ultraviolence

 

Janelle Monae – Electric Lady

 

Franz Ferdinand – Stand On The Horizon

 

Mac DeMarco – Chamber of Reflection