Release Date: Oct 16, 2012
Record label: Captured Tracks
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Mac DeMarco2[Captured Tracks; 2012]By Colin Joyce; October 15, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetWhen Mac DeMarco rose out of the ashes of Makeout Videotape and released his debut solo EP on Captured Tracks earlier this year, much of the critical discussion surrounding the record focused on his perceived disingenuousness. See, DeMarco is a jokester of the most devilish sort. Initial promo photos featured a glammed out DeMarco mugging cluelessly at the camera.
Don’t be fooled by the juvenile hijinks or gap-toothed smirk—Mac DeMarco is accomplished well beyond his 22 years. Having already impressed 2012 with the whimsical Rock and Roll Night Club, DeMarco, sans Elvis pitch-shift, delivers some quality tunes on 2. Mac’s two finest assets are his cocksure baritone and translucent tele-timbre, and “Freaking Out the Neighborhood” and “The Stars Keep Calling My Name” snag quickly with sprightly guitar lures, and the back half of the record mellows out into a sequence of folkier love songs.
Making honest art can be terrifying; with 2, Montreal-based Mac DeMarco's second release this year, it feels like he's jumping into the deep end. On DeMarco's other 2012 record, the EP Rock and Roll Night Club, he tinkered with yacht rock, AM radio gold, and Bowie-like glam. The mixture injected an unsettling sleaziness into a funny, occasionally creepy collection of songs that walked the line between irony and sincerity.
MAC DeMARCO plays the Drake Hotel Wednesday (November 14). See listing. Rating: NNNN This has been a hell of a good year for Mac DeMarco. After moving to Montreal from Vancouver and dropping his former moniker, Makeout Videotape, his Rock And Roll Night Club EP grabbed him heaps of critical adoration last spring, and his new debut full-length, 2, is even better.
After graduating high school in 2008, DeMarco started the short lived Makeout Videotape, releasing a few cassette only albums of treble and reverb fueled, minimalist rock. DeMarco took a similar but more conceptual route with his solo debut, Rock and Roll Night Club. Under the Makeout Videotape moniker, DeMarco's sound was similar to Calgary's Women, very jagged and angular sounding rock.
Since disbanding Makeout Videotape and going it alone, Edmonton/Vancouver-bred, Montreal-based singer-songwriter Mac DeMarco has made considerable progress with the groundwork his band laid out. Signing to Captured Tracks, he released the Rock and Roll Night Club mini-album earlier this year, which carried on the lo-fi crooning over some lip-smacking, hook-filled outsider pop and a fake radio show. For his solo debut album proper, he's dropped the glam shtick and adopted a much more blithe perspective of jangly, minimal rock'n'roll.
Who the hell is Mac DeMarco? A good question, and even if you picked up his debut 12-inch, last year’s ‘Rock And Roll Night Club’, it’s possible you’ll still be none the wiser. The cover sported a picture of this 22-year-old Montrealer carefully applying a thick smooch of lipstick, and the contents – a collection of weird, woozy lo-fi songs sung in a playful glam-meets-’50s rock’n’roll vein – were recorded primitively, then slowed down a little, giving DeMarco the voice of an inebriated Elvis impersonator. It was sweet and amusing, its enjoyment increased slightly by the sense that DeMarco might have been sitting somewhere cackling that anyone in the world might take such a ridiculous art prank seriously.
Vancouver, British Columbia weirdo Mac DeMarco appeared under his own name in the spring of 2012 with Rock and Roll Night Club, a grab-bag album's worth of songs marketed as an EP. The atmosphere on R&RNC was jagged, with tracks either sounding identical or taking sharp stylistic left turns, with results ranging from warm bedroom pop to Ween-esque demented goofery. Just months after the release of that confusing collection comes 2, DeMarco's proper full-length debut.
The first full-length album from 22-year-old Canadian garage-popper Mac DeMarco – following an earlier mini-LP, Rock'n'Roll Night Club – starts as if he's endeavouring to revive the least-frequently revived style in recent pop history. Cooking Up Something Good sounds unnervingly like the kind of record that slipped out in the late 1970s, as artists in thrall to a vision of concise guitar pop, with an eyes on the past, slipped out their singles under the cover of punk, despite being no one's idea of punk. Ageing listeners may find the name Mink De Ville popping into in their heads.
The last 40 seconds of Mac DeMarco’s 2 (spoiler alert?) feature a one-way conversation. After strumming the last chord of “Still Together”, we hear DeMarco set down his strings, lean over and half-whisper to an anonymous companion “Kiki”, “Hey, time for bed, you’re sleeping/You have a little indentation from the glasses that you fell asleep in.” The last-minute grace note is equal parts cute and winking. Like Real Estate’s Days, its stylistic cousin from last year, 2 is certain to incite just as much high acclaim as frustrated backlash to all the acclaim for such technically basic music, and you can bet the farm that the first criticism you’ll hear will be a slightly prolonged version of “zzzzz”.
Mac DeMarco might like you; he might not. The 22-year-old Montreal songwriter stays in shady ambiguity on debut album 2. He sings about weed, he sings about a bad father, he sings about doing nothing until it stops being fun. The balmy regularity of his guitar might be his only friend. "And I'm ….
Mac DeMarco just released his debut 12” recording, Rock And Roll Night Club, earlier this spring. An eccentric but lighthearted collection of lo-fi indie-folk tracks, the record aligns with DeMarco’s youthful spirit in the club, as he possibly downs tequila shots and chases his catch of the night. Having recently turned 22, DeMarco is teetering on adulthood, and you can hear this on his first proper full-length album, 2, as he relays his bittersweet lyrics, painting a portrait of a wandering, chain-smoking soul.Rock And Roll Night Club didn’t come out that long ago, but DeMarco’s growth is already visible on 2.
Upon first listen, Mac DeMarco’s second album 2 (natch) is exciting and relatable enough: here’s a young singer-songwriter with a dependably ramshackle, quirky-enough sound and simple songs that don’t deviate much from down-home topics like cigarettes and family relationships. DeMarco leans heavily on his influences, which, despite the rural woodsiness of 2’s cover, actually seems to be Britpop, particularly peripheral figures like Richard Hawley and Graham Coxon, as well as the less dramatic material of This Is Hardcore (1998)-era Pulp. Yet, his woozy, chiming guitar and otherwise relaxed demeanor grounds this album in a little world all its own.
Having shed his previous moniker of Makeout Videotape, lo-fi Montreal boy Mac DeMarco beckons in his new era with this confusingly named debut full-length ‘2’. Having already released EP ‘Rock And Roll Night Club’ earlier in the year, it’s fair to say he’s been a busy bee: he’s 22, lives in Montreal and has supported Japandroids on more than one occassion. There are worse situations to be in.As an album, it’s quite a varied piece of work, despite never really emerging from its shell.