When Mac DeMarco first entered the scene at indie rock's resident party animal, the self seriousness of that mopey world's status quo actually needed Mac's sort of thing. His breakout album 2 from 2012 was a fine record, introducing DeMarco's dirtbag aficionado character with some seriously realised tunes that functioned as smart snapshots of his man-child life; dreaming about the morning's first cigarette (Ode to Viceroy) and apologising to his mother for sticking a drumstick up his arse on Youtube (Freaking Out The Neighbourhood). The record and DeMarco's over the top personality made the Canadian musician a household name for hipsters. Since then, DeMarco has released the solid Salad Days, the extraneous Another One, and his latest offering This Old Dog which finally puts to rest the jury on whether you have to care about the man's work at all. Yes or no, you know your answer and there's really nothing DeMarco's going to do from this point forward to change your mind.
I like the guy. For macho chill out music, I certainly wouldn't object to melting into the couch to some of his woozier tunes. His comedic persona of the Pepperoni Playboy is warm and inviting at its best. But I can't go any further without addressing that at times it seems like we're all grading the music of DeMarco on a curve. Simply put, Mac's got a formula and he seems dead set on sticking to it and I'm not sticking around. Since 2014's Picking Up The Pieces I've been waiting on the promise of a future Mac who gave a shit. Wherein that song utilised interesting synth arrangements to bolster DeMarco's sensibilities, My Old Man and the countless other songs like it seem less like growing up and more like bunnyhopping and hope of an experimental phase and landing straight into dad rock territory - and not in a fun way.
This is an album for people who aren't looking to be impressed by Mac. This Old Dog is full of near identical songs, save for the rare synth glimmer, and it's hard to believe this is what DeMarco considers to be his best. He had two years to make this. C'mon man, I'm rooting for you and would like to see you round but you really have to put more into the records for this thing to work.
Words: Nick Boyd