Having shed his previous moniker of Makeout Videotape, lo-fi Montreal boy Mac DeMarco beckons in his new era with this confusingly named debut full-length ‘2’. Having already released EP ‘Rock And Roll Night Club’ earlier in the year, it’s fair to say he’s been a busy bee: he’s 22, lives in Montreal and has supported Japandroids on more than one occassion. There are worse situations to be in.
As an album, it’s quite a varied piece of work, despite never really emerging from its shell. Dreamy pop songs such as ‘Dreaming’ and ‘My Kind Of Woman’ are intertwined with Beach Boys-inspired surf efforts like ‘Freaking Out The Neighborhood’. ‘2’ doesn’t jump out at you, but sits calmly in the background, caressing your ear drums. At points it sounds like a Darwin Deez record that’s been put through a lot of editing software to give it a lower tone.
‘2’ can easily frustrate though. It’s a record that often comes across as trying too hard to be cool, to the point where it almost seems a bit sad. You’ve got a smokers cough at the end of ‘Ode To Viceroy’ and the cringeworthy conversation at the end of album closer ‘Still Together’ where he mentions to a recently awoken woman that she has “indentations from the glasses you fell asleep with on your face”, just to make sure you know he’s a cool kid. With the latter, it ruins what is actually a stand out song on the album, an acoustic love song fading out what has been a respectable effort from DeMarco.
It angers and delights in equal measures, and without the try-hard imagery the record wouldn’t stand out quite as much, and those little snippets into his life do break the album up quite nicely, as much as it pains to admit. It’s easy to imagine the album, especially tracks like ‘Cooking Up Something Good’ soundtracking several barbecue gatherings next summer, or now for countries lucky enough not to be experiencing the wettest September for 30 years.
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