Album Review: Mac DeMarco – 2

Music

A grooving guitar, casually sliding and bending, opens 2. A bass grates, then drops in with a simple, chirpy bass-line backed by drums until a ridiculous yet remarkably subtle cymbal-crash introduces Mac DeMarco, who describes the relative whereabouts of his family. The start of the carefree album which the goofy cover photo with brilliantly ugly font-type suggested. But after the chorus where Mac imparts some thrilling advice – “Oh when life moves this slowly, oh just try and let it go” –giving an insight into his attitude, the mood swings. No longer is “Mommy in the kitchen, cooking up something good”. Instead, “Daddy’s in the basement, cooking up something fine, while Rick’s out on the pavement, flipping it for dimes”. From supper to drugs, slight change. Mac DeMarco’s chilled though; “It’s really no fuss” he sings later on.

 2 shows life’s lack of perfection, but Mac Demarco is admirably laid-back about it all, which is refreshing and reassuring.  His acceptance in ‘Cooking Up Something Good’ recurs and it isn’t unreasonable to assume that “No use getting worked up” from ‘Sherill’ will be on his tombstone. His voice (which in a few packs could be near Dylan territory, but is currently confusingly smooth) sounds resigned too. ‘My Kind of Woman’ describes his infatuation, his vocals drooping at the end of every line, sleepily and with admiration just like the twinkling guitar in the background. Its subdued feel resembles Alex Turner’s Submarine soundtrack. However, whereas Turner depicted someone swept away into an emotional utopia by their teenage love, Mac DeMarco is less idealistic. Even when he ought to fall into the former camp – a song called ‘Dreaming’ – he pulls himself back: “Maybe she’s best in dreams…”.

But this realism doesn’t deflate the album. The accompaniment possesses a similar character to Mac: sometimes nonchalant, sometimes playful, sometimes celebratory, sometimes all of these. There’s a sense of irony throughout too. ‘Robson Girl’ is pretty stereotypical for 2 then halfway through turns into a parody of The Libertines’ “rebellious and meaningful” guitar parts. The entire sentiment of ‘Still Together’ is undermined by the hilarious wail, somehow in tune, during the chorus. This sense of humour, along with Mac’s ability to take everything as it comes, is refreshing. The innovative arrangements, with hints of glam, lo-fi and dream pop, complete 2, a spectacular and entertaining album.

4.5/5