Album Review: Demarco’s ‘This Old Dog’ Provides Summertime Melodies

Lester's Picks: 
Baby You're Out (Track 3)
One Another (Track 5)
Still Beating (Track 6)
A Wolf Who Wears Sheeps Clothes (Track 9)
Watching Him Fade Away (Track 13)

Earlier this month, Canadian singer-songwriter Mac Demarco released his 13-track LP titled “This Old Dog.” With summer rapidly approaching, Demarco’s sophomore album, released under the Captured Tracks label on May 5th, provides its young listeners with windows-down music perfect for cruising down the highway on a warm summer’s day.

“This is a new thing for me,” Demarco said in a Rolling Stone interview. “The majority of this album is acoustic guitar, synthesizer, some drum machine, and one song is electric guitar. This is my acoustic album, but it’s not really an acoustic album at all. That’s just what it feels like, mostly.”

“This Old Dog” marks Demarco’s first release since 2015’s “Another One” EP. Compared to his previous major projects, “Salad Days” (2014) and “2″ (2012), “This Old Dog” appears less cluttered. Rather than woozy guitar effects and dizzy background vocals, Demarco’s latest release boasts smooth, flowing melodies backed by the simple beat of a vintage CR-78 analog rhythm machine. Upon this steady rhythm, Demarco’s vocals claim prominence, showcasing his impeccable songwriting ability and unique lyrical style.

With “This Old Dog,” Demarco has successfully mastered the art of recording. In addition to playing every instrument that appears on the album, the 26 year-old artist engineered and produced the LP. Throughout the album, Demarco’s vocals are recorded bone-dry and raw, enhancing his personal, conversational tone. Each strum of his acoustic guitar can be heard vividly, making it seem as if Demarco is playing only a barstool away. The bass and drums perform in perfect unison, creating a rich texture that serves as the backbone of the album.

Demarco performs a set including songs from “This Old Dog” at the 2017 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California. (Photo:  brooklynvegan.com)

To acquire inspiration for “This Old Dog,” Demarco left his traditional recording location in Queens, New York, and moved to Los Angeles, California. After setting up shop on the West Coast, Demarco gained a fresh outlook that influenced the perspective of his music. The result was a beautiful, deeply personal album that highlights Demarco’s turbulent relationship with his father.

“I demoed a full album, and as I was moving to the West Coast I thought that I’d get to finishing it quick,” Demarco said. “But then I realized that moving to a new city and starting a new lifestyle takes time. Usually I just write, record, and put it out no problem. But this time, I wrote them and they sat. When that happens, you really get to know the songs.”

Physical copies of “This Old Dog,” including CD, cassette, and vinyl, are available on Omnian Music Group’s website. The album is available for listening on YouTube, Apple Music, and Spotify.

Additionally, with the release of “This Old Dog,” Demarco has announced an international tour. On Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017, Demarco will perform at the Orpheum Theater in New Orleans. Tickets can be purchased here

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