ALBUM REVIEW: Mac DeMarco – Salad Days


Prime Listening

Mac DeMarco | ARTIST

Salad Days | ALBUM

Captured Tracks | LABEL

1 April 2014 | RELEASE DATE

8.6 | 10

For an artist who came to prominence with his friendly, slacker personality, Salad Days is a remarkably mature record. The opening track begins with Mac DeMarco singing “As I’m getting older, chip up on my shoulder / Rolling through life, to roll over and die.”  What lacks in lyrical playfulness is made up for in the album’s wonderful sonic qualities. DeMarco transfers his energy into playing around with his soaring musical talents, giving the 23-year old his own instantly identifiable sound.

In a Pitchfork feature, DeMarco firmly noted his dismissal of “Let Her Go,” a track he said came about only after label Capture Tracks informed him of their desire for a song for the late-night talk show circuit. There is so much wrong with that entire situation, from DeMarco’s dismissal of a damn good track to the fact that Days is littered with many infectious, prime-time ready songs without even considering “Let Her Go”. “Goodbye Weekend” features a wonderful melody and vocal weight from DeMarco. “If you don’t agree with things that go on within my life. Well, honey that’s fine. Just know that you’re wasting your time,” he assuredly sings.

Other highlights include the incredible “Brother” and stirring “Let My Baby Stay”. The former best shows off DeMarco’s guitar tone, which is quickly becoming the most defining quality of the young musician’s work. “Take it slow, brother,” he sings, and in the process making an excellent case for taking it slow. The psychedelic freak-out the closes the song hints at the inevitability of chaos ensuing in our lives, so why manufacture it ourselves? “Stay” features some of his best vocal work yet, when, near songs end, he wordlessly belts, using his voice as an instrument as powerful as his guitar.

“Chamber of Reflection” takes a detour into synth-pop, and has the sort of weathered shine heard on Diamond Rings’ Special Affections and Twin Shadow’s Forget (2010). But even “Reflection” can’t escape from DeMarco’s imprint, gliding with the same casual, focused flow throughout the rest of Days. The closing “Johnny’s Odyssey” is the album’s lone instrumental, and gives us one more chance to admire his growing prowess as a musician.


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