Captured Tracks have the album you've all been waiting for. Mac Demarco's 'This Old Dog' is finally upon us and for long-term fans or new listeners alike, it's a treat. Starting with the warming tribute, 'My Old Man' which begins rich with woody CR78 percussion and sumptuous acoustic guitar, soon to break into Demarco's unmistakeable vocal drawl. As the chorus grows from the tapestry of sound, the warmth of the reticent synth swells surrounds the stero image in a comforting blanket of organic haze. It's indicative of Demarco's earlier work, but more confidently approached, brilliantly minimal still but undeniably rich in it's simplicity.
'Baby You're Out' grows from a more off-centred rhythmic approach but undergoes a shuffling transformation to swoon into the folky redux of the main choral refrain, it's an approach that could be jarring but in the capable sonwriting hands of the man himself, it predictably goes by without a hitch. Speaking of transformations, Mac seems to undergo a tranformation himself from shuffled syncopator into sleazy lounge singer in the oozingly laid-back 80's synth sizzle of 'For The First Time'. Decending digital pads and simmering DX7 tines coalesce into a melting-pot of reverb and polyester garments.
There are pieces here like 'Sister' that really display the no-frills talent that has endeared us all to him for so long, comprising of hazy pitch-shifted guitar sitting right back in the mix while heartbreaking lyrics swim ever so briefly around the wistful plucking. 'Dreams From Yesterday' oozes with crackling tubes and hazy summer dreams to counteract the minimal aura of it's precident. And so it continues, from warm and full-bodied to cold and reticent, there isn't a bad moment here, only different emotions conveyed through a variety of techniques, and every one of them perfectly executed.
STAFF COMMENTSMine says: "Mac DeMarco must be some kind of joke act, right?" Has this thought ever crossed your mind? I came across it in a festival review and I felt for the poor guy who just didn't seem to get what Vernor Winfield McBriare Smith IV (I'll give you a moment to let that settle in...) is all about. If you can relate but somehow feel intrigued, 'This Old Dog' is your perfect entryway into the wacky world of Mac DeMarco. It seems like everyone's favourite sleaze man is trying to show us that he has grown up, without having lost an inch of his quirkiness. It is okay to be vulnerable sometimes, the songs about his troubled relationship with his father seem to confess, just don't bury your head in the sand. 'This Old Dog' is stripped back, simpler and therefore easier to digest than his previous outings. It's dreamy and reflective but always light-hearted, and will leave you with a warm, fuzzy feeling in your chest. Careful, though, you might feel like you're floating on a cloud.