Mac Demarco delivers with simple and sweet jams in “This Old Dog”

Mac Demarcos new full length album, “This Old Dog”, has arrived. After dropping two singles in February (that were reviewed by The Signal here), Demarco follows through with an album packed with his signature soothing, simple songwriting paired with his charming lyrics and vocal delivery. However, with this album he has added a couple new twists to keep his type of songwriting interesting, and everything works in his favor.

Demarco kicks the album off with his first two singles, followed by the up-beat, congo backed “Baby You’re Out”. One main thing that was added to this album is electronic percussion. The drums are still live acoustic drums, but a few songs are accompanied by some electronic claves and congas, among other things. The addition works well for Demarco, and coexists in harmony with Demarco’s musical stylings.

Demarco’s sound seems to have matured a good bit since his last effort. The songs have a real defined feel to them—more than the last records. He seems to be trying some risky things such as the 7 minute long “Moonlight on the River” where Demarco conjures up almost demonic sounds until its sudden stop, as well as including a good bit of synth, which was used sparingly in previous projects.

On “One More Love Song” Demarco shines through with a huge chorus in a fashion he has not done before. Because of the chorus, “One More Love Song” becomes a gem on this album, showcasing Demarco’s matured songwriting and instrumental choice.

Some songs sound very singer-songwriter, while others flirt with the R&B genre with chords and feelings similar to R&B contemporaries, like the Isley Brothers and Gino Vannelli, with stripped back verses and big, sensual choruses. The use of this sound has been present in the past but it is clear now that it is a sound Demarco will be using more going forward in his career.

This is especially evident on “For the First Time”. Verses threaded with descending synth part into a chorus filled with youthful remembrance, “It’s just like seeing her for the first time again”, Demarco sighs over the chorus.

Demarco has proven that he has a knack for taking an old sound and making it—and keeping it—fresh to where new fans know that his music is more than just a gimmick. In this way, “This Old Dog” could be enjoyed by young and old alike. Older people looking for a taste of nostalgia and the younger crowd enjoying a new sound.

Verdict: For Mac Demarco day-one fans, the sound that was so intoxicating is still present. As for the fans who were starting to grow tired of Demarco’s musical antics, Demarco has thrown in a couple new twists to keep things fresh while still showing his songwriting skill. Demarco has shown great progress in that respect and delivers 13 moody and incredibly catchy songs that are able to be thrown on at almost any time.

Grade: A

Best songs: “For the First Time”, “This Old Dog”, “One More Love Song”