This Old Dog by Mac Demarco
Mac is back. But it’s definitely not bigger than ever.
He has spent his time developing a real caricature of himself, letting his musical outputs slide. His lack of hygiene, dry humour, goofy style and give-a-fuck stoner attitude has allowed his already healthy adolescent following to grow. He’s done interviews with his mom, advertised for someone to do his PR (dankest meme wins) and he continues to gawk in front of any camera, baseball cap perfectly glued to his greasy barnet, but this rather overshadows what really got him to such fame in the first place. This time out, he’s put down his iconic twangs and picked up the synths, rather suffering under the monotony of a certain ‘sound’.
His recent album This Old Dog bravely states in the title track “This old dog ain’t about to forget”, but the album plays through and you reach the end feeling none-the-wiser. It’s an album that’s easily forgotten. Indeed, I was sent the album pre-release, listened to it once ready to write my review, and simply forgot about it. There is no journey, there is no story, there is no emotion. But maybe that’s what its meant to be – easy listening on that summer’s afternoon. Background music.
I do enjoy the transition to more electronic beats, but combined with his vocals there is none of the spring and playfulness of his older work (see ‘The Way You’d Love Her’). For me, the best track is the opener ‘My Old Man’. With more earnest lyrics and melody you follow the story and that inevitable transition from boy into your dad. Sadly from then, the weed-induced croons rather slide away into a 40 minute haze, many of the songs seemingly unfinished. Mac is always a great one to see live, invariably removing items of clothing or traversing the high reaches of the venue he’s playing, but if This Old Dog occupies the majority of his set list, I doubt that debauchery will be seen.