Written by Chris Osifchin
If you could share a cup of coffee with any of your favorite musicians who would you choose? I’ve got an invite to Mac Demarco’s house in Queens, along with anyone else who’s picked up a copy of his latest effort, Another One. Thirty seconds after the last song on the Demarco described “mini-LP” the singer shares his current address and asks listeners to come on by for a cup of coffee. I can’t think of another artist bold enough to publicly reveal his address, but Mac’s tunes and his public antics are endearing enough to make me actually want to do it.
Another One is full of beautiful, poignant pictures of love. While his persona on-stage can sometimes seem wildly different from the music he makes – what with chopped up goofs on classic rock covers and wild profanity – the 26-year-old Canadian has a knack for simply expressing heartbreak in his own weird way.
You might call Another One Demarco’s most mature effort to date. Though it is short – not atypical for Mac – sonically and lyrically, the songs are tight, well-constructed little ditties. In a recent interview with NPR, he claims he’s stopped writing bridges altogether. “It’s like verse-chorus-verse-double chorus. Keep it simple, keep it really short.” The album rambles through emotional peaks and valleys as Demarco’s deft touch keeps things interesting.
The standout on the album is “Just to Put Me Down.” Reaching back to two, the track sounds like a slowed down version of “Cooking Up Something Good,” albeit with a complete 180 in the subject matter. Demarco sings “Picking me up, just to put me down” just as the riff meanders up and down. It’s a perfect marriage of music and words, an ability shown off time and time again by the young songwriter. The synth that comes in behind the main thrust of the guitar completely underplays the happy, sappy riff and when the manic rush of overdubbed solo riffs penetrates the sound, it’s a perfect complement to the scene of a lover playing games with the heart and head of another. There’s an ambivalence to the song, a frustrated love unsure of his next relationship move.
And then there’s “I’ve Been Waiting for Her,” another gem. A frustrated lover has given way to one ready to give it all for love. The catchy, upbeat rhythm of the verse and the arpeggiated guitar of the chorus sync up with Demarco’s intended direction as the song’s character gives up his life to the rhythm, “for the beat of a heart like hers.” Tenderness drips through the song like honey from a spoon. All in all, it’s a beautiful love letter to anyone you might be excited to spend time with.
Another One’s closing statement, “My House by the Water” encompasses a field recording from Demarco’s backyard on the bay in Queens coupled with an eccentric, almost church-like organ. The song seems to stamp the album as a failure – a failed love that is. It’s the depressed feeling you have when all you want to do is lay in bed and wallow in the pain of a breakup, making the closing invitation all the more effective and poignant. Get out of bed and “Stop on by,” he says, “ I’ll make you a cup of coffee.”
I think I will take you up on that cup of coffee Mac.