By Will Throp
Hailing from Edmonton, at the heart of Canada’s Western province of Alberta, a 25-year-old named Vernor Winfield Macbriere Smith VI, a.k.a Mac DeMarco, is making waves. Two records down, and a mini-album on the way later this summer, Mac’s back, and sounding fresher than ever. Will Throp gives you the lowdown.
You’d be forgiven for taking Mac DeMarco at face value. Goofy eyed, cap permanently lodged backwards over his disheveled mane, notorious for his distinct lack of clothing during gigs – DeMarco is nothing if not quirky. But the surplus of DeMarco YouTube interviews, full of carefree attitude and fooling around, truly belies a young man capable of making tunes as infectious as his gap-toothed grin.
Mac DeMarco’s first full length LP, 2, broke in 2012, to critical acclaim. His signature licks provided a heartfelt backdrop to his lyrical explorations of love and loss growing up in middle-of-the-road suburbia. The sparkle of songs such as ‘Cooking Up Something Good’ – in which Mac explores “his Dad’s meth amphetamine habit” – and ‘Freaking Out the Neighbourhood’ underscore the work of a craftsman who, for all his nonchalance, possesses a striking attention to detail.
On Mac’s second record, the stakes were raised. Heavy hearted after completing a year and a half of solid touring, DeMarco decided to retreat to an apartment in Brooklyn in order to make a more meditative, introspective album. The result was Salad Days. 35 minutes in length, the record shows Mac at his indubitable best: the opening title track is a catchy-as-hell ode to lost childhood, while ‘Let My Baby Stay’ offers as personal a side to DeMarco as we have seen, all loss and longing for his girlfriend (the couple had serious visa problems when moving to the U.S.). Musically, the album takes its nods from ‘Sgt. Peppers’…’ era Beatles as much as it does the lighthearted surf pop of The Beach Boys. Released in 2014, Salad Days was an instant hit with critics and fans alike, cementing DeMarco’s presence on festival stages across the globe.
All of which leads us to 2015 – the year in which Mac DeMarco will hit the big time. The release of ‘Another One’ in August, a mini-album featuring “eight freshly written songs” is an indication of just how prolific DeMarco is becoming. The release of new single ‘The Way You’d Love Her’ suggests a continuation of Mac’s trademark vibrato guitar sound, complete with an effortless croon that would make a fitting Lo-Fi soundtrack to anyone’s summer.
Mac Demarco is one of those remarkable artists, who at present appears incapable of doing any wrong. With a UK tour lined up for early September, a ticket to one of his shows is a must. On current form, early single ‘The Stars Keep on Calling My Name’ may well turn out to be just about an accurate portrayal of Mac DeMarco’s meteoric rise to the summit of the indie rock pantheon. Catch him while you can.
Images: Captured Tracks