Mac Demarco, Salad Days – album review

salad days

Mac deMarco’s records are like those brightly-coloured balls that bounce across the crowd at summer festivals, hands reaching up ecstatically toward them as they soar by, reflecting the sunshine like softly curved mirrors. They work little fingers of light into any space – and this one, “Salad Days”, is no exception. It’s cool, sweet and crisp.

There’s something so distinctive about Mac’s bubbly guitar tone, complete with its smooth swagger and twang. Interestingly, most of his endearing goofiness seems to be gone on this album, in favour of a slightly more sultry and settled-in sound.

Opening, and title-track “Salad Days” kicks straight into step with a just-jilted timing that melts into the sweet coo of “Blue Boy”. Then, Mac curses under his breath in the exact same way that I did last year, when I braved a wintery Monday night in Rome to see him but was stopped by police on the way for a goddarn registration paper check and missed the whole thing (I told him so, rather woefully, and he sent me on my way with a pair of vinyls tucked under my arm – which just goes to show that Mac is about as nice as the music he makes). “Brother” slides along at a considerably more downbeat pace as Mac becomes the wise older sibling, lamenting lives wasted under the dreary officiation of the nine-til-five.

“Let Her Go” chimes in with a simple message of love-her-or-leave-her. The dark under-melody of “Passing Out Pieces” runs across your backbone like a violin bow and is an unusual, pleasantly surprising track. “Chamber of Reflection” is a brooding musing on loneliness that oozes with delightfully nostalgic slow-beats. To wrap things up, “Jonny’s Odyssey” skates across warbled synth as though its feet have been smeared with Vaseline. As twenty seconds of silence tick along at the end, I wait for something to happen, and it does – a spoken farewell from the man himself.

I don’t think Mac could do wrong in the starry eyes of his near cult-like following – but there’s no mistaking, he does make damn fine records. As the summertime creeps in between the blinds, at least on some sides of the world, this is the perfect bead-string of songs to collapse onto a picnic rug to, sipping orange juice from a straw.

Chloe Mayne


Salad Days review by Chloe Mayne