Slacker clown prince Mac DeMarco refines sound, grows artistically

Upon hearing the album title “Salad Days” you may cower back in the tiniest fashion and ask yourself “What?” However, after listening and googling his name, you will notice that it makes perfect sense.

As his sophomore album, it’s got a bit more polish than his previous record “2”.

Originally from Montreal but now based in Brooklyn, DeMarco has grown from a goofy gap-tooth Canadian guitarist to an icon of indie rock who seems like the ideal weird older brother. As his sophomore album, Salad Days got a bit more polished and slightly more meaningful than his previous record “2”.

The record immediately starts with DeMarco singing the self-titled track Salad Days and his simple guitar riff soaked in twang compliments his voice. Most of his songs are rather simple in structure, but his ability to cloak these simple riffs and turn them into to interesting tunes is just outstanding.

The record is riddled with dialogue in between and even during tracks and despite how well mixed it is, it always has a twinkle of his guitar jangle like displayed in “Blue Boy”. In contrast to the first three songs, “Let Her Go” is a more upbeat song that you could have easily been listening to on the beach in 1967 with lyrics such as “Bit if your heart just aint sure / Let Her go”, but he then speaks under the track and proclaims “or don’t, it’s your choice” adding a drop of humor reflecting DeMarco’s upbeat personality.

The record gets pretty serious with the next track of “Goodbye Weekend” with a similar guitar riff as “Blue Boy” followed by “Let My Baby Stay.” You never get the same classic feel behind love songs these days; but, “Let My Baby Stay” really makes me want to put it on a cassette mix tape full of 50s love songs.

The record does a mctwist 9000 while picking up a box psychedelic synth sounds for “Passing Out Pieces”. Honestly, the song sounds like DeMarco is playing with Tame Impala’s equipment while singing “Don’t you know / Nothing comes free” as if he was singing “Rocky Raccoon” by the Beatles.

After a slight jam with a relaxed southern vibe of “Treat Her Better”, the synths return for “Chamber Of Reflection” with DeMarco singing “Alone Again” as droning mantra. The final song titled “Jonny’s Odyssey” is a fun instrumental starting off with a repetitive guitar riff with clear bass and crisp percussion. The chorus is a simple spacey, but actually quite haunting, hum of synths that seem distantly dissonant. As the song fades there is an 18 second period of silence until you can hear the sound of a microphone buzzing in as DeMarco says: “Hi this is Mac, thanks for joining me, see you again soon, buh-bye”

Overall, this record is less “catchy” than his previous one but it makes up in soul and more meaningful songs. It’s quite an enjoyable listen because his efforts have just the right amount of cheese and is cooked to a medium-well perfection—confident and polished with just the right amount of juice.