Contrary to belief, you DO make friends with salad. If Bart Simpson grew up to form a band, no one could better compare than Mac DeMarco. Both children of the 90’s with a knack for entertainment so fresh and an attitude so rebellious, that their mere presence elicits an insatiable need to take up smoking and find a can of spray paint.
Humble as a mumble, Andre 3K would say regarding the latest Mac DeMarco album and track title, Salad Days. This is a full-length sophomore effort for DeMarco following the 2012 drop of 2, which like its predecessor, is also released via Captured Tracks. Salad Days is easily recognized as an upfront and honest reflection of his current affairs that can be deciphered from lyrics, “Salad days are gone…” which surely seems exaggerated as DeMarco is only 23 years old. But perhaps releasing a second full length album and having an ever developing avalanche of attention from both press and fans is forcing this nonconformist to do just the opposite. Ipso facto, “Mo’ money. Mo’ problems.” The simple carefree days of basement shows and crashing on couches may be numbered for this talented goof, and this record certainly could serve as a requiem to those days.
If you’ve never seen DeMarco perform live, your first order of business is to see the error of your ways and make that happen. That is, if he hasn’t left for his multi-continental world tour this summer. To see Mac live is to see two shows in one: half raunchy standup and half live music. Apart from the cover art, it’s difficult to gauge just how delightfully obnoxious DeMarco and his cronies can be. Salad Days’ final track “Jonny’s Odyssey” does finish off with a little snippet of Mac bidding adieu to his listeners with a line that has certainly been uttered to the crowd as he wraps up a show. Without harboring too much on the visual aspects of the group, it is quite impressive to conceptualize the chill and lackadaisical sounds for which he is known, and then to actually visualize what is nothing more than a ratty ‘gee-tar’ with a single strand hemp strap.
In conjunction to 2, and lest we forget the EP, Rock and Roll Night Club, DeMarco releases the same glam meets surfer rock sound. “Passing Out Pieces,” “Chamber of Reflection,” and “Jonny’s Odyssey” bring some heavy synthesizer into the mix but not to overshadow the DeMarco signature guitar musing he has rooted deeply into all his tunes. Simple pleasures like the wood-block and egg-shaker pair well with the lyrical genius of, “Far as I can tell she’s happy/ livin’ with her Macky” in the love ballad, “Let My Baby Stay.” “Blue Boy” is the shortest, but one of the sweetest ditties on the album perhaps tied with the aforementioned “Passing Out Pieces.”
The cult following that Mac DeMarco has built for himself will only escalate as he continues to play guest bar tender pre-show, crowd surf an entire four-tier venue in one single attempt and wrap up the evening by taking 30 minutes worth of iPhone selfies with his fans post-show. If the salad days are truly behind him, it was a wild ride, and we’ll all just have to revel in what is currently the most talented and successful mid-midlife crisis to date.