1 April 2014 (Captured Tracks)
By Joe DeBonis
I don’t think Mac Demarco knows the meaning of stress. Even while he worked frantically on his follow up to his superb record 2, I don’t think he ever truly got anxious. He may have had a few late nights and smoked a few too many packs of cigarettes, but I know that he knew he would finish in time and it would be received well, because that’s just the kind of guy he is. Relaxed and at ease with the world may be an understatement when describing Demarco’s demeanor and his music embodies that perfectly. His guitar playing is meticulous yet easygoing and his voice is calm and quiet, fitting perfectly over his noodling on the guitar. Just looking at him and his floppy hat tells you he’s the kind of goof ball that’s not going to let anything serious in life affect him having a good time. His guitar playing and singing are just so unperturbed that even when he gets into more serious topics, it’s hard to take him too serious.
And at the same time as Demarco comes across as this God of the Goof Balls, he is trying to grow as an artist, showing more range in his emotional set and lyrical ability on his latest endeavor. The music he is making is still very comfortable, but he is not singing about love and having a swell time in the summer as much; he has started to realize he is allowed to sing about some more substantial things and people will still enjoy his music.
Above all, Salad Days is not some continuation of 2,but rather a very impressive growth from the young whipper snapper he used to be. He never gave up the calculated coolness that he embodies but now he seems to understand what being famous is like and is now coming off as more than some happy- go – lucky guy from Canada living in a one-bedroom apartment with his illegal immigrant of a girlfriend, just happy for anyone to be listening to his records. He addresses some more serious topics on this album, like the potential deportation of his girlfriend back to Canada, while never getting too sad or depressing. He certainly understands a little more of the platform he was given for his music now that Pitchfork has fast tracked his career to the hipster masses.
“And where would I be, feeling lonely, separated from my one and only,” is an example of a pretty sad lyric featured on Salad Days, yet Demarco does a brilliant job of intermingling his truer feelings with the image people expect him to have seeing as he is portrayed as the most laid back rock star at the moment by singing sadly but keeping the melodies nice and care free. Before he may never have touched a song about losing his girlfriend but as life gets more serious with his fame and increase in income, it seems as if Demarco is reluctantly allowing himself to be pulled in the direction of a tad bit more of a complicated life. The way he never allows himself to completely freak out though shows he is still the same ol’ Mac on the inside, instead just growing as a person now. On “Brother,” he sings “Take it slowly brother, let it go,” almost as a reminder to himself to keep everything in perspective.
As much as this album is about Mac Demarco and who he is as a person, this album strikes on a more general level as well. This is another very seasonal album in a long list of them that have been coming out this spring. There is nothing better than lying in a park in the springtime, listening to some mesmerizing guitar work and hearing how cool it is to love life. In the end, that’s what Mac Demarco is doing with his music. He is bringing a positive vibe to a season that is made for them and his music doesn’t miss a beat with all the sunshine and flowers that exist during this time of the year.
Rating: Loved It