Words by Sean Walsh
Mac DeMarco’s press kit for his new album starts out reading “‘As I’m getting older, chip up on my shoulder’…is the opening line from Mac DeMarco’s second full-length LP Salad Days.” I read that line, closed my email box and continued to press on with monotonous Excel work I had let pile on from the day before. When I finally finished, I played the title track ‘Salad Days’, and the opening lyric has stuck with me since the moment I heard it.
Half-expecting to hear some kind of gruesomely-angsty DeMarco, I winced, but soon realized the previous errors in my clouded judgment. He is talented and witty, with an opening hook as catchy as some top tier Beatles-shit. And with ‘Salad Days’, the 23 year old Canadian really comes into his own, exploring his own versions of laid-back, surf-psychedelia. Except it’s got some bruises, some cuts, some bloodstains, and some battle scars. It smokes. It gets naked. It says curse words at the dinner table. It’s great to your grandmother, but it’s still gritty. It’s not perfect, and it doesn’t have to be.
He’s doing some project with Tyler the Creator as well, which should be interesting, especially as it has already been deemed NSFW. I was unsure of how that could even tie in, but soon realized how varied and off-the-wall DeMarco is himself. Like at the end of ‘Let My Baby Stay’ when he opens up to invoke a sense of epic folklore, only to turn into a melody akin to Sgt. Pepper on the very next single ‘Passing Out Pieces’.
I think this is going to be a really good listen in the early months of the summer. The sun drenched guitars, organs, and keyboard accompaniments of DeMarco are so shimmery at times, it’s hard to think you’re not watching a hazy sunset over a horizon literally at all times. It’s a different release than most artists are putting out today – transcending the boundaries of space/time by existing in the past, present, and future all at once.
Salad Days is quite a timeless piece – drawing on past relics, while introspectively looking forward into the vast future. And as omnipresent as this may sound, you still may not hear it on the radio, unless you’ve got KCRW of course.
Anyway, I would not normally consider this type of release something I would be terribly excited about, however, DeMarco has livened up an aging sound that needed a jump-start to get going again. His second full length LP showcases some serious, serious talent. These aren’t just songs you listen to once and discard, you will replay them in your head, and play them again – it’s almost guaranteed. If you have read this far, I most certainly urge you to go listen now, and check him out at one of his many live shows…unless he is already playing in an impromptu one in your backyard. Well, get out there!
© April 1st, 2014
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