Mac Demarco: prospects of a new sound

The awaited moment has finally arrived; after announcing shows in London’s Brixton Academy, it was only a matter of time until the 26 year old Canadian singer-songwriter released new material. The prospects of a new album has enthralled Mac Demarco fans for a while, and the two singles released yesterday do most definitely not disappoint. It is clear that the imminent album This Old Dog will stay true to Mac’s psychedelic rock vibe, but has a more stripped back, nostalgic feel which induces questions as to what has provoked this slight change in tone.

The first, and my favourite of the two singles released, is the album’s title track ‘This Old Dog’. The slow guitar and drum beats engulfs us into the acoustic talent of Mac’s self-described ‘jizz-jazz’ style. The beautifully soft vocals exhumes the enchanting tone of Mac’s voice, and is complimented by the modest tone of the instrument accompaniment. As the song transitions into the chorus, we can hear the synth droplets oozing through the background, creating a warming tone.

The lyrics itself brings a sense of change and development, that accents Mac’s musical journey from his release of Rock and Roll Night Club in 2012. Despite being only 26, Mac seems to delve into the theme of maturity and ageing with the chorus line ‘This old dog, ain’t about to forget’. This could be interpreted as a clue to the entire album’s vibe, and a possible change in Mac’s approach and mood as an artist, implied by the lyric ‘Often a heart tends to change its mind. A new day decides on a new design’.

‘My Old Man’ begins with a sharp synth beat, shortly joined by Mac’s signature acoustic guitar; this layering combines the much-adored lo-fi psychedelia and jangle pop of Mac Demarco’s material and indulges us in his original sound. This synth and guitar marriage is continued throughout the song, following the same beat, which adds a somewhat hypnotic atmosphere. The hypnosis is also exhumed by the simple tune of the lyrics itself, proving that not all great songs must have complex layering and change of dynamics to be captivating.

The lyrics itself also excavates the theme of nostalgia and growth that ‘This Old Dog’ does, through the exploration of Mac seeing ‘more of my old man in me’. It seems that Mac is beginning to recognise a sense of age and maturity in himself and perhaps his music, which links to the factor of a possible change in tone of the forthcoming album. The playfulness of Mac’s work is still apparent through the ‘Uh-oh’s, much like the added scats in his infamous songs ‘Salad Days’ and ‘Ode to Viceroy’, giving us slight consolation that his sound is not to change too radically.

It is clear that Mac chose to release these tracks for a reason; the concept of change and development is an ongoing theme and seems to reflect the slight alteration in musical approach than that of his previous albums. I expect This Old Dog will see Mac experiment with synthesisers and drum machines, due to the inclination that he is going to be developing his musical style. Everyone should be extremely excited for this album; I expect it is going to be a new take on Mac’s unique and playful musical tone, which will be a refreshing change accepted with open arms.

-Angel x

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