Released May 5 by alternative rock artist Mac DeMarco, “This Old Dog” holds the classic qualities of a DeMarco album — folky, feel good, and hazy.
Lulling listeners with a voice looser and folkier than the last two albums released by the artist, one can’t help but to feel charmed without being smothered by lyrics about love and only love.
Introducing the album with “My Old Man,” listeners are taken by the hand to somewhere light and sunny. The synthesizer showing up here and there in the track holds down the song in some sort of modern way.
Following “My Old Man”, second song of the album “This Old Dog” invites listeners to what can be described as an ode to the classic DeMarco EP with it’s structured but easy conversations between daydream synths and beachy guitar melodies. Evident in this song, Mac DeMarco has mastered the translation of ease into sound.
A short track but too worthy to skip over and miss, “Sister” is that song to indulge in the cliche of throwing your head back and smiling to a song. The thematic dreamy quality of his music is heavy in this track, carrying that DeMarco sense of easy.
A personal favorite track, “Still Beating” is a wash of calm and the song just blooms, fitting for the album’s easy-going manner.
Lyrics are not too much of a weighing factor in determining the total “goodness” of this album but it should be brought to attention how pleasantly normal they are. No mentions about that glitz and glam terror of fame, just heartache, relationships, and speculations on life itself are enough to put the gloom and melodramatics on hold.
The only shortcoming of this album is the same flatness between songs. The melodies are fine, but the lack of diversity can cause some to find themselves bored with these tracks. This is not a big and blatant no-no regarding the entire album, but it can definitely be noticed when paying particular attention when you listen to “This Old Dog.”
But then again, a Mac Demarco album is not one to listen to and pick apart. DeMarco’s albums are crafted in a way in which the music is supposed to be heard and that is all. Shelve the role of the critic aside and appreciate the interactions between the instruments, the lazy and lose vocals, and enjoy.
As the ironic role of the critic here, the deserving letter grade of this album would be an A-.