Album Review: This Old Dog // Mac DeMarco

At first glance, one would be forgiven for branding Mac DeMarco as nothing more than a lovable indie goofball. However, the Italian-Canadian’s self proclaimed “jizz-jazz” sound possesses a lyrical quality wise beyond his years, with those listening more keenly able to discern a mature aspect to DeMarco‘s conscience – poignantly recognising This Old Dog as a charmingly accurate depiction of the 27-year-old.

After receiving critical acclaim for 2 – his sleeper hit debut album five years ago – DeMarco began to garner a cult following, culminating in 2014’s Salad Days becoming a mainstream success. With the world falling in love with the weird and wonderful world of DeMarco, this third studio offering has been hotly anticipated for some time.

Talking to Pitchfork, DeMarco said of the album; “Choruses? Fuck a chorus…What else? Bridge? I don’t think I’ve done a bridge on the last three albums,” while he confirmed This Old Dog explored more synthy and drum machine-orientated sounds – “but they are, like, pretty mellow.” Here’s what we say!

Opening with the two lead singles he has already treated us to – the frankly reflective My Old Man and titular, slow-burning This Old Dog – DeMarco then effortlessly ups the pace in smoothly crooning over Baby You’re Out.

For the First Time, showcases a trademark psychedelic keyboard backing, before the almost poppy, eclectically out-of-kilter sound of One Another. The slower pace of Still Beating and the interlude-like Sister is refreshing, allowing for the listener to really drink in the aforementioned masterful lyricism from DeMarco.

The first track on the album’s second side, Dreams From Yesterday, is a definitively raw and emotive number, prior to the flighty and feel good, harmonica-accompanied A Wolf Who Wear Sheeps Clothes and what could well be the closest DeMarco has ever come to a ballad – the aptly named One More Love Song.

One of the most triumphant highlights of This Old Dog comes with the recurring exploration of synthetic sounds in On the Level, before DeMarco returns to his acoustic roots in Moonlight on the River – albeit with a cacophony of electronic waves washing over the listener at the track’s close – and the delicately executed keyboard strokes of the parting shot, Watching Him Fade Away.

This Old Dog is out via Captured Tracks on 5th May – pre-order here.

Words by Jonno Mack

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Jonno Mack

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