Mac DeMarco - Salad Days

Mac DeMarco's music is like a warm blanket strewn all over your semi-stoned thoughts deceiving you into a sense of care-free bliss. But on Salad Days (released April 1, 2014 on Captured Tracks), beneath the hazy and often gorgeous melodies is an undercurrent of sadness and unease that any young adults can relate to. Mac DeMarco, of course, would not immediately give off that impression thanks to his goofy persona perfectly exemplified in the delightfully bizarre Pitchfork special "Pepperoni Playboy", but it's his willingness to delve into that mid-20s sense of limbo and lack of direction that makes Salad Days as emotionally resonant as it is a sonic accomplishment. Still, he maintains his trademark sense of lyrical cleverness and humour that keeps the record a relatively light affair. 

The record starts off strongly with the title track and hits an early high with the swirly "Little Brother". If it's possible to make guitars sound like liquid, Mac does that with "Little Brother". For the most part, especially the first half of the record, things stick to the well-defined sound established on his sophomore album 2, but there are moments that transcend that much-loved sound. The stand-out track is "Chamber of Reflection", which could be described by some as being close to a '90s West Coast hip-hop beat. Seriously. It is also the best song on the record, finding Mac at his most introspective. 

Overall, it's easy to pin down Mac DeMarco as the slacker-joker-indie-rock dude who "makes the same song over and over again". It's true, at times this sameness can make one a little antsy to skip through to your personal favorites, but to do so would miss some of the more sublime moments and those understated melodies that build their own little pathways in your brain over time. This is a criticism levelled at similar bands like Real Estate and Beach House. But when you're this good at a defining your own sound and creating your own world, who cares?
Best for: Backyard BBQs with your friends who still aren't entirely sure what they want to do when they grow up.
Rating: 4/5

-- Ken C. hosts Out of Tune every Wednesday at 4 PM EST on CJLO.