Behind that goofy-looking exterior of Mac DeMarco is the well-functioning brain of someone who has learned to condense emotions into slow jams. Do not let the insane video for “Passing Out Pieces” fool you because DeMarco does really well when he croons and when he lets loose his personal brand of catharsis. With Another One, really relaxed sounds are juxtaposed with a level of denial conveyed through yearning. Though each song more or less has the same repetitive structure, this now New York-based musician does enough with his keyboard and guitar to interest listeners.
DeMarco sings in a way that makes listeners feel like they are stuck inside one of those moving graphics that are shown when someone plays karaoke. His crooning and playfulness in “Just To Put Me Down” can actually make one feel like they are in a karaoke bar with the man. The lo-fi instrumentation of his keyboard and guitar add to a very false sense of relaxation, and this adeptness in creating the mood of chill is where his act shines. “The Way You’d Love Her” has very psychedelic strings that complement the very Toro y Moi-esque mood and sheer simplicity and beauty of the lyrics. The solos and guitar playing on this record mostly rely on high-pitched notes rather than sombre low ones (“I’ve Been Waiting for Her,” “Just to Put Me Down”). The drumming on this album is mostly relaxed, not hitting anything heavy or playing at irregular speeds. Genre-wise, listeners do not get much in the way of influences, although the modern genre of chillwave (“Another One,” “Without Me”) does make it into the instrumentation. It is just that the structures that hold these rhythms are very repetitive and, on the first listens, annoying, especially when wanting to unravel the facets of love he examines.
In the way of surprises, DeMarco packs a few to make listening to this cry-fest–sorry, this record–loveable. For instance, there is a maturity in this album that makes it stand out from Top 40 radio tracks, especially in its way of tackling love. “A Heart Like Hers,” with its sarcastic misfortune exuding from the keyboard, talks about a woman that manages to discourage love. The tragedy is not how it is sung almost in a drunken stupor, but it is how the repeated chorus feels chilling. “I’ve Been Waiting for Her” takes a classic rock influence that can be found in the vocal tracks that unite once DeMarco gets to the chorus, as well as the slick licks the guitar plays to end the song. The final track, “My House By the Water,” has the artist tell his actual home address right after a bit of sifting along some water.
Besides showing his more compassionate side within this record, DeMarco’s sometimes crooned lyrics tell something about the singer. He manages to split apart love and sex, telling the more emotionally intimate things rather than the physical. The lyric that starts the album is “How’s your heart been beating?” Going through the mellow and sad moments of the album keeps listeners checking their hearts. You tell yourself if it is okay, and when it is not, then feel free to visit DeMarco at his house in New York. Take a smoke, have a BBQ party, and, if you are still sad, then cry with him to his album.
Dustin Ragucos is a writer of things fictional, poetic, and musical. His main loves include Death Grips and Indie music. Dustin’s blog is host to a weekly blurb about albums old and new.