Mac DeMarco - This Old Dog
This Old Dog sees slacker rock hero Mac DeMarco pick up right where he left off. This latest work - his third full length album, the last one being 2014's wildly successful Salad Days - adds to the Canadian's legacy with a collection of 13 laid-back but beautifully composed tracks. The LP comes just in time for his two much anticipated Brixton Academy dates, the first of which sold out in just three hours prompting the announcement of a second show.
This record is notably more personal than DeMarco's previous work, there's a sense of reflection and introspection less present in his previous writing. This is probably most visible in the first two tracks, 'My Old Man' and 'This Old Dog', the two songs that were released the day the album was announced. 'My Old Man' sees DeMarco articulate his trepidation with ageing and the aftermath of hedonism, encapsulated by the line "There's a price tag hanging off of having all that fun". 'This Old Dog' is a more romantic venture, dreamy with a relaxed pace and simple chorus, but heartfelt lyrics.
The instrumentation in Mac DeMarco's music is recognisable, all fans know the guitar vibrato and steady drumming; This Old Dog deviates slightly - all the playing is done by DeMarco himself, his multi-instrumental skills producing a new sound that whilst not being a big transformation does make this album sound different. Synths play a far more dominant role though they're kept mellow and don't seem much of a juxtaposition against the acoustic guitar that features so heavily. DeMarco's classic guitar twang stands as a firm reminder that the music is his and you can still find the drumming though it's more downplayed due to his lack of experience.
The album is definitely a fluent piece as a whole but it boasts some real gems, a stand-out track is 'On the Level', it appears to be a conscious nod to Salad Days fan-favourite 'Chamber of Reflection', the prominence of synths and echoing vocals mirror it's floaty beauty. In contrast, 'Sister' is a 78 second sorrowful piece that spotlights DeMarco's stripped back voice with some basic acoustic guitar chords; it's raw and exposing and if you listen closely you can even hear him mess up a chord but it fits perfectly with the song's spirit.
Mac DeMarco is very good at what he does, it's what's earned him fans across continents, and This Old Dog proves he's not just releasing music for the sake of it, he still has a whole lot to offer.