Review Summary: A sweet collection of timeless hammock-ready jams
Mac DeMarco is not a revivalist. You could argue against that on the subject of his solo debut Rock and Roll Night Club
, wherein he played the King of Rock and Roll himself, boozed-up and discomforting listeners with his intimacy as his quivering baritone crawled out of the signal. However, once the second side tuned in to 106.2 Breeze FM, in place of the sauntering Elvis persona was a sincere, affable, and considerably less theatrical voice that carried sentimental hits like “She’s Really All I Need” and uplifting rockers like “I’m a Man” that displayed him straddling the roles of character and songsmith with little difficulty.
Since then, DeMarco has emerged from the static, yet his songs remain just as personal. It brings the term ‘breakthrough’ into question, as 2
rests pleasantly oblivious to our current musical climate and dwells comfortably in its own reverie. Sure, these songs are laced with nostalgia, but their mildly dream-pop-informed foundation transcends the cozy proto-rock and -pop numbers they reference. With glimmering guitars and DeMarco’s voice laid snugly atop, his inconspicuously infectious tunes are complemented by an enchanting atmosphere.
Easiness isn’t quite as easy to capture in the inspiring manner that 2
does. DeMarco’s signature tape-warped guitars stretch out the funky chords that stroll through the verses of “Cooking Up Something Good” and unhand them for the chorus, “Life moves this slowly / just try and let it go,” while “Sherrill” is underpinned by quivering tremolo keys that feel as if they’re slowing time. Even when he unleashes a discordant solo on “Robson Girl” DeMarco imposes no tension. This would be a fault were it not for 2
’s brevity and blissful peaks, like the wistful melody behind “My Kind of Woman” and the breathtaking falsetto soaring over “Still Together”, easily the album at its most tender. It expresses repose in a way that’s infinitely more comforting than it is contrived.
There’s something beautiful about the lackadaisy within 2
that remains a challenge to place, and that may just be it. Once one feeling rises to the fore, like Demarco reassuring the listener “Really, I’m fine… Sincerely, don’t worry” on “Freaking Out the Neighborhood”, another will act as a leveling contrast, such as the slightly anxious refrain the lyrics are sung to. Earnest but not too serious, ethereal but not elusive, reflective but not homesick, DeMarco probably wouldn’t like us to think of him as a multifaceted personality, but it’s what makes his latest album so endearing.