Building on last year’s full-length album Salad Days, the laidback Mac DeMarco serves some more of his horizontal rock (or ‘jizz jazz’ as he calls it) stirred with the spirits of Steely Dan, Harry Nilsson and Jonathan Richman in his particular brand of slacker rock.
Straight away from The Way You’d Love Her’s wonky speed guitar and stoner reverb slouching vocals you know this is going to be a breezy, upbeat slice of easy. Trouble ye not with any uptight and upright political rants with progressive chords or navel-gazing bleakness. One has to admire his upfront, unaffected attitude, sticking to simplicity, and his abilities in writing and recording this solo with an almost childlike quality.
On Another One (and the almost identical A Heart Like Hers) it’s the organ that’s gone blurry, like the batteries are running down or the recording has been dragged through treacle as he conjures his best Lennon (Julian, not John alas) impression. It’s not a new trick, harking back to My Bloody Valentine’s shifting speeds of sound and more recently Beach House’s woozy psychedelics, making for an interesting sonic trick that adds to the ‘well-worn and wonky’ vibe of the album.
But, unfortunately for deMarco, all the ‘watery’ guitar-work in the world doesn’t disguise that these are wisps of songs that wear thin with their slack tales of his romantic endeavours (pining for, celebrating and losing them). Possibly his lack of success in this area might be down to his hazy non-committal nature evidenced by these songs.
There’s not much to get your teeth into, with the album split between songs falling into either the bittersweet (The Way You Love Her) or the jaunty (Just To Put Me Down) sharing the same tempo, instrumentation and weightless words delivered from under a sonic duvet.
Almost by way of an apology or chat-up line, DeMarco ends the mini album inviting the listener for a coffee at the close of My House By The Water; which is just that, a sound piece of lapping waves and some noodling organ. Maybe this is a stopgap or just an offloading before he commits to another more fleshed out offering, but while not offensive, it’s watery childlike-ness is like a kid’s paddling pool – no deep end and replete with a drop or two of unwanted warm yellow liquid.