Just a few days ago I found out Canadian singer/songwriter Mac DeMarco is younger than me. Jealously aside, what surprises me even more is the maturity of DeMarco as a songwriter. His style embodies everything from the tipsy aloofness of Harry Nilsson to all the greatest Power Pop bands of the 1970s. His guitar playing although laid back displays an intricacy in its progressions and chord choices. On top of all that DeMarco has begun to dabble with warbly keyboards, a wise transition for the up and coming 23 year-old.
Some might find it odd that DeMarco would title his sophomore release “Salad Days”, considering the term is often used to sentimentally refer to one’s once fruitful heyday. Either its a commentary on how DeMarco feels these are his best days and they are ever fleeting or maybe he’s trying to write songs from a more sagely perspective. A third possibility might be that DeMarco is referring to music itself, fondly looking back at the days when rock and roll was pure and fresh. The third option would make sense considering the retro (a word I use far too often in my reviews) sound and the album’s old school studio wizardry.
The bulk of the lettuce on Salad Days doesn’t defer to far from what DeMarco did on his last album 2. The guitars still jingle and jangle as DeMarco slurs out lazy day sentiments and tuneful melodies. The bonuses or “dressing”, if I’m going to keep going with this pathetic salad theme, lie in the albums two most bold departures. “Chamber of Reflection” and most notably the album’s lead single, “Passing Out Pieces” mark DeMarco’s foray into synthetic pastures. “Chamber of Reflection” is a spacey, almost soulful keyboard ballad while “Passing Out Pieces” sounds like Mac DeMarco raided Abbey Road for all their best gear. It’s almost a shame DeMarco didn’t venture deeper into electronic waters but maybe it’s better to be left wanting sometimes. The need for more gives a listener more reason to return to an album. It’s a good thing.
I’m very excited for what tunes Mac DeMarco may spin in his future. He’s only 23 and has already released two great albums. Hopefully he will continue to mature and experiment with new sounds and ideas and delve deeper into rock history for inspiration. I’m sure he’ll be cooking up something good.
Favorite Tracks: “Chamber of Reflection,” “Passing Out Pieces,” “Salad Days”