''As I'm getting older, chip up on my shoulder...'' is the opening line from Mac DeMarco's
second full-length LP 'Salad Days,' the follow up to 2012's lauded 'Mac DeMarco 2.'
Amongst that familiar croon and lilting guitar, that initial line from the title track sets the tone
for an LP of a maturing singer/songwriter/producer. Someone strangely self-aware of the
positives and negatives of their current situation at the ripe old age of 23.
Written and recorded around a relentless tour schedule (which picked up all over again as
soon as the LP was done), 'Salad Days' gives the listener a very personal insight into what
it's all about to be Mac amidst the craziness of a rising career in a very public format. The
lead single, ''Passing Out Pieces,'' set to huge overdriven organ chords, contains lines like
''...never been reluctant to share, passing out pieces of me...'' Clearly, this isn't the same
record that breezily gave us ''Dreamin,'' and ''Ode to Viceroy'' but the result of what comes
from their success. ''Chamber of Reflection,'' a track featuring icy synth stabs and soulful
crooning, wouldn't be out of place on a fantasy Shuggie Otis and Prince collaboration.
Standout tracks like these show Mac's widening sound, whether insights into future
directions or even just welcome one-off forays into new territory.
Still, this is musically, lyrically and melodically good old Mac DeMarco, through and through.
The same crisp John Lennon / Phil Spector era homegrown lush production that could have
walked out of Geoff Emerick's mixing board in 1972, but with that peculiar Mac touch that's
completely of right now. ''Brother,'' a complete future classic, is Mac at his most soulful and
easygoing but with that distinct weirdness and bite that can only come from Mr. DeMarco.
''Treat Her Better'' is rife with ''Mac-isms,'' heavily chorused slinky lead guitar, swooning
vocal melodies, effortless chords that come along only after years of effort, and the other
elements seriously lacking in independent music: sentiment and heartfelt sincerity.
We're only at Part 2 and 1/2 (one EP and two LP's in) into Mac's career. As you read this
and as you hear the album on April Fool's Day of this year, he'll probably be on tour, or
preparing for one... or maybe already writing new music. A relentless work ethic is something
to be admired in today's indie music scene, but when it's of the quality Mac is giving us time
and time again, it starts to turn from admiration to awe.
01 Salad Days
02 Blue Boy
04 Let Her Go
05 Goodbye Weekend
06 Let My Baby Stay
07 Passing Out Pieces
08 Treat Her Better
09 Chamber Of Reflection
10 Go Easy
11 Jonny's Odyssey
DON'T JUST LISTEN TO MUSIC EXPERIENCE IT.