If there is one thing that can be said about Mac DeMarco, the guy is remarkably consistent. With each consecutive release, Mac DeMarco offers another compendium of pretty chill songs featuring his comforting voice. He’s not the type of artist to completely revolutionize his sound every year. If you like what Mac has dished out in the past, you can feel pretty confident that his next one will deliver the goods. Perhaps that is what makes the title of his newest record, This Old Dog (and Another One, for that matter), so apt. When the album drops tomorrow, you can count on Mac DeMarco revisiting some of his old tricks. But while the core of Mac’s songs don’t drastically change, each album has its own identity, and This Old Dog is no exception. Although I’m only writing this during my third playthrough, This Old Dog strikes me as Mac DeMarco’s most complete and diverse album since Rock and Roll Night Club.
In the past, Mac DeMarco had released a bunch of videos with just him and an acoustic guitar, and I felt they brought out a more thoughtful side of his music. I always hoped that we would hear a little more acoustic Mac in his catalogue. Much to my delight, the sound that really sets This Old Dog apart is the number of songs that are oriented around the acoustic guitar. Never fear, the chorus-soaked, somewhat detuned electric guitar is still present on his new album, but it’s often featured in a lead role, floating on top of the rich sound of an acoustic. There’s also no shortage of psychedelic keyboard-based tunes, à la “Chamber of Reflection”, to get that stoner Mac vibe that we love so much.
Another strength of This Old Dog is that it displays quite a range of Mac DeMarco’s style. In addition to the aforementioned acoustic, electric, and keyboard songs which shift the tone through instrumentation, This Old Dog hits a number of different genres and emotions, all the while staying true to Mac. Songs like “Baby You’re Out” bring out his fun side. “Dreams From Yesterday” offers a little Latin flavour. “Sister” is a thoughtful, pensive interlude. “One More Love Song” has a bit of an R&B beat. “Moonlight On The River” is the longest song in Mac DeMarco’s catalogue by no small margin, and delivers a powerful, trippy build-up before the album winds down.
It’s still early, but at the moment I could see This Old Dog slotting in as my second favourite Mac DeMarco record, behind Rock and Roll Night Club. If you’re a fan of Mac already or still new, you can’t go wrong giving This Old Dog a try.