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