Posted on June 15th, 2014 (3:59 pm) by Jesse Clark

Being a successful solo artist means you need to be overflowing with creativity, a quality which multi-instrumentalist Mac Demarco has in abundance. He made waves with his critically acclaimed debut solo album 2 featuring eleven light-hearted coming-of-age songs strained with psychedelia and glam rock. His newest album Salad Days is the result of exhaustion from touring for a year and a half causing the music to be more sensitive and mellifluous. Recording took place in his Brooklyn apartment and went fairly smoothly considering the lack of pressure being put on him to finish. What we got in return is a whimsical eleven-track oddity of lo-fi psychedelic jangle pop in the same vain as early Beatles B-sides.

He cites Shuggie Otis, Steely Dan and Johnathan Richman as some of his favorites, which can be heard throughout his music although his music sounds closer to more contemporary artists like Dent May and Beach House. It's evident that he leans more towards breezy and easy-listening type music opposed to odd time signatures and irregular chord progressions, yet he is still extremely experimental by playing with a cheap thirty-dollar guitar he has had since he was a teenager and effect pedals which he has admitted himself he believe no serious musician would even consider using. He also is characterized by his raunchy live shows which juxtapose the atmosphere his music creates.

His style is classic lo-fi indie pop with psychedelic intentions but some aspects of Salad Days border on soul music and synth pop. "Passing Out Pieces" has an electronic baroque sound that verges on shoegaze and dream pop, while "Chamber Of Reflection" takes those synthy sounds one step further and moves the album into R&B-influenced chillwave ignited by luscious harmonious synthesizers and the dreamy voice of Demarco. "Johnny's Odyssey" swirls bouncy tropical guitar with warbling disorienting synthesizers creating a sound similar to that of walking through a funhouse.

You really have to admire Mac Demarco's keen sense of melody as he has written and composed all eleven tracks on Salad Days. The title is a perfect opener that ponders the best way to move forward with one's life. Not only has Demarco come up with some of the most sensitive melodies in a while he also has an excellent mind for composition. His guitar playing on "Blue Boy" and "Let Her Go" is relaxed and unrestrained which makes it somewhat messy but overall euphoric as there becomes this envelopment of sound that will more than likely give you the chills. An all-around great song of Salad Days is "Goodbye Weekend" with its unabashed guitar picking while a steady drum beat moves like a bounce in someone's step. He busts out solos in melodic major scales that make you feel sappy but lovely inside. "Let My Baby Stay" exemplifies his more serious songs even though this one is still far from serious. It sounds something like a stab at an early Beach Boys' ballad but with that modern acoustic sound that most indie pop and folk bands have had lately. Our personal favorite of the record is "Treat Her Better" which has a melody that's simply beautiful and sharp lyrics that prove Demarco is a natural born lyricist. Sometimes words come as naturally to people as emotions do which is the case with Mac Demarco who writes his poetic lyrics from instinct. Songs like "Brother" and "Go Easy" are shining examples of what incredible music can from a single mind.

What makes Salad Days such a remarkable record is that the music is unintentionally provoking and modest in the way that it doesn't want to make a big deal out of itself yet critics inevitably will. For how simple the music of Salad Days is the songs are powerful in the way they influence our emotions. It's impossible to feel anything but joy and contentment and perhaps a bit of nostalgia while listening to this record. Mac Demarco has an incredible amount creativity and work ethic that has led him to be a complete critical successful. Let's hope it stay that way.

Track List:

  1. Salad Days
  2. Blue Boy
  3. Brother
  4. Let Her Go
  5. Goodbye Weekend
  6. Let My Baby Stay
  7. Passing Out Piece
  8. Treat Her Better
  9. Chamber Of Reflection
  10. Go Easy
  11. Johnny's Odyssey
Mac Demarco: Salad Days
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

78 / 100
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