Mac Demarco – 2

Rating: ★★★★☆

Earlier this year everyone raved about Mac Demarco after the release of Rock N’ Roll Night Club, which had Mac scatter-brained, musically speaking.  He’s back already with his first proper full-length, 2, focused and ready to take aim at your most intimate chill session.  If you need that will help you unwind, then turn on the subtle genius of Mac.

Almost immediately, I was won over.  “Cooking Up Something Good” is a catchy little guitar ditty, opening with a funky guitar line that almost seems off-key at points–in fact I’m positive he bends those strings out of tune.  Still, you wouldn’t be able to escape the relaxed atmosphere Mac Demarco offers you from the get-go.  Following that laid-back vibe is “Dreaming,” a tune that’s coated slightly in the atmospherics of Demarco’s guitar.  There’s something about his voice that draws you in, even with its lack of polish; it’s got a smooth delivery, yet it resonates as if he’s singing from your couch.

My ears can’t help but think of 2 as the perfect counterpoint to Real Estate‘s Days.  Where as that band pleasantly spun harmonies around bright guitar sounds, Mac seems content to slow things down with a similar guitar sound and a more intimate approach.  “The Stars Keep on Calling My Name” definitely has that twang in the guitar, but the slower pacing, if that’s possible, allows for the listener to sit back and absorb the melody, rather than pursue a more passionate sound.  That’s not to say that Demarco isn’t passionate about what he’s doing, or that you won’t feel an emotional draw, but rather that he seems more content to be your friendly couch-crashing troubadour. One listen to “Still Together,” the record’s closing number and you’ll completely understand my sentiment.  The tune features a quiet guitar strum and vocals that strain to reach the right pitch.  Those little imperfections demonstrate that 2 is created by an artist in his own world, but one that’s willing to let you be a participant.

There’s also some of that clever electric guitar jamming that made Mac Demarco so mesmerizing, even though he spins it in his own way.  He uses it to open “Freaking Out the Neighborhood,” and then sinks into his groove to offer more of a croon with the guitar sinking further into the background.  The added touch of backing vocals helps perfect this tune too. But, for me the most special moment comes during “My Kind of Woman,” featuring a swirling guitar that wraps around Mac’s voice, and the faint hint of a female vocal counterpart.  Here you’ll find the song a slow trudge of what one can only describe as pretty sounds–and that’s never a bad thing.

I hate comparing musicians to others, especially if it really has nothing to do with the artist at hand, but I’m going to say that Mac Demarco seems poised to make a Kurt Vile-ish run at the masses.  As a songwriter, he seems to be equal in his output, and 2 is a representation of a musician you can’t really put in one place.  We’re witnessing the unique birth of a man who’s got a true craftsman’s style to songwriting; he’s just getting started, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome.

[audio:https://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/03-Freaking-Out-The-Neighborhood.mp3]

Download:Mac Demarco – Freaking Out The Neighborhood [MP3]

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