Everybody's favorite merry goofball, Mac DeMarco, is releasing his new record Salad Days on April Fool's Day. I got the record a couple weeks ago and had the chance to preview the new tracks at length.
There is definitely a vintage 60's feel to this album. Often times, I felt there was a Lou Reed styled blasé charm in Mac's crooning. The guitar and bass interplay was off the charts. It's rare to get excited over bass playing, but this was truly exceptional as it was tight, succinct, and funky. Arrangements were generally pretty simple, but the guitar and bass really came out and sang together on this record. There was a lot of great melodic counterpoint, emphasized by Mac's signature wet jangly guitar sounds.
The title track, "Salad Days", which opens the record, gets right down to business, warning, "As I'm getting older / Chip up on my shoulder" and features great backing vocals reminiscent of an early Kinks song.
There are moments when I hear elements of Beatles influence on tracks like "Passing Out Pieces" which distinctly rings of Magical Mystery Tour-era stylings with the use of zany and circusy sounding Wurlitzer-type organs, while the stripped down "Let My Baby Stay" feels like a White album track, with it's sparse percussion and spaced acoustic arrangement.
Other really high points on the record include the really nice guitar melody in the chorus of "Let Her Go" and the descending guitar lick during the refrain in "Treat Her Better".
This record embodies what has become Mac's quintessential sound. Melodies are spread out and the spaces are filled with clean riffing. Lyrically, the record seems generally in line with the Mac DeMarco audiences have become accustomed to. There are elements of snark and quirkiness, but this album seems to delve a bit deeper philosophically than what listeners heard on his last effort.
All in all, this record really lives up to the lofty expectations set from Mac's previous release. As if that weren't enough, Mac has developed a reputation as an excellent showman and he'll be in New York for a sold out show at Webster Hall on April 9. Check out his record. Go to his shows. Mac DeMarco is an ascendent musician and songwriter.
Salad Days comes out April 1 on Captured Tracks and is streaming in full at NPR: http://www.npr.org/2014/03/23/291167043/first-listen-mac-demarco-salad-days