As hazy as it is energetic, Mac DeMarco’s faded, whiny voice accompanies the typical slacker-rock sound that he extends to his new album “Salad Days.”
Formerly part of the band known as Makeout Videotape, the solo artist, who now goes by Mac DeMarco, released two albums produced by Captured Tracks prior to his newest disc release.
“Salad Days,” an echo of his previous albums, retains the artist’s signature psychedelic slacker-rock genre and sounds like a part two to his most well-known album, “2.” Although he did not expand on or experiment with his sound, his new album doesn’t disappoint.
His newest album starts off with the title track, which maintains DeMarco’s usual dragged-out yet catchy riff. However, the lyrics are a little more menacing and self-reflective than the instrumentals let on.
“As I’m getting older, chip up on my shoulder/ Rolling through life, to roll over and die,” DeMarco sings on “Salad Days.” “Always feeling tired, smiling when required/ Write another year off and kindly resign.”
In the following song, “Blue Boy,” the melody picks up for a more upbeat pace with uneven instrumentals weaving in and out to make it sound like he’s playing underwater.
Although it is catchy and one of the best songs on the album, “Blue Boy” is still slightly unsatisfying because its instrumentals and overall melody mimics DeMarco’s most popular song, “Ode to Viceroy.”
Even though “Ode to Viceroy” is one of the most classic modern songs to embody the slacker-rock genre, the similarity between the track and “Blue Boy” is a little too safe.
The third song of the album revitalizes the album’s sound and reputation with ethereal and dreamy instrumentals as well as catchy riffs to corroborate the solo artist’s lyrics. In “Brother,” he gives advice to his brother and his listeners about not getting trapped in following the norm and the expectations of this fast-paced world.
“You’re better off dead, when your mind’s been set from nine until five/ How could it be true, well it’s happened to you, so take my advice/ And take it slowly, brother/ Let it go now, brother.”
On one of the last songs of the album, DeMarco drones on in a minor key with a more sinister sounding song, “Treat Her Better.” The advice he gives features an edge and a threatening tone, contrasting the rest of the album.
“Hey man, heard you were your brother’s keeper/ That can’t be, judging by the way you treat her. … Treat her better, boy/ If having her at your side’s something you enjoy/ If having her in your life’s really so important to you now.”
The album finishes off with “Jonny’s Odyssey,” a purely instrumental track with a looser, chill vibe. He incorporates organ sounds into the song, making it sound oddly like a mature and developed children’s TV show theme song.
It is a fitting song to end on, leaving the listener wanting more of DeMarco’s idiosyncratic vocals to accompany his multi-instrumental sound.
DeMarco stays true to his roots in his new album, “Salad Days,” which carries on his signature, laid-back and relaxed sound.