Mac DeMarco’s “Salad Days” review

The first time I heard the name Mac DeMarco, I was listening to a friend rave about the Canadian musician’s show at Scala in London, last October. DeMarco’s wild enthusiasm and insane genius led to his losing shoes and screaming comedy covers on stage.

Previously recording as Makeout Videotape, Salad Days is Mac DeMarco’s second full-length solo album under his own name. The album was released on April 1, 2014 through Captured Tracks and garnered a “Best New Music” accolade from Pitchfork.

DeMarco plays and records all the instruments himself in his box room in Brooklyn. DeMarco’s cut and paste style gives him an irreverent appeal. It’s nice to see an artist who isn’t precious about imperfections in his process. DeMarco is the gap-toothed, laid back voice of reason we all need.

The title track, “Salad Days,” allows DeMarco to acknowledge his youth from the off. The message lies somewhere between a love ballad and telling everyone to chill out. It’s hard to escape the fluid rhythm and guitar flicks but the album is not overpowering. All 11 tracks complement each other perfectly.

The album is fitting for long, lazy days in the sun; it worked very well on a recent road trip. The slow mixture of guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and relaxed lyric tone will keep everyone happy. DeMarco switches down to an even softer tone in “Let My Baby Stay,” probably my favorite track.

DeMarco knows exactly where to place a lyric in his rolling melody. The words are a combination of wistful recollections and sound life advice. “Chamber Of Reflection” introduces synths to the mix, which are always healthy. At the end of “Jonny’s Odyssey,” Mac thanks us for listening to the album with a final flourish. The entire album is infused with this kind of personal touch. DeMarco’s songs feel accessible because they are homemade and from the heart.

DeMarco has so much more to offer than simply the slacker aesthetic he has so far been labelled with. I give this album an 8 out of 10. May his Salad Days continue.

If you’re a fan of Salad Days, check out Deerhunter, Foxygen and Unknown Mortal Orchestra for a similar sound.

— ZOE SHARPLES