Albums Of The Week

Album of the Week: Canadian singer-songwriter Mac DeMarco feels his age in This Old Dog

Canadian singer- songwriter Mac DeMarco reveals his thoughts on ageing in his third full-length album, This Old Dog.
Canadian singer- songwriter Mac DeMarco reveals his thoughts on ageing in his third full-length album, This Old Dog.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE- PRESSE

Mac DeMarco presents snug folksy tunes that he wrote on an acoustic guitar for the first time

Twentysomething Canadian singer- songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Mac DeMarco is feeling like a seasoned troubadour, as it is suggested in the title of his latest album.

The Los Angeles-based poster boy of laid-back indie rock - known for his gap-toothed smile and mischievous vibes - reveals a little more about his family, loved ones and thoughts on ageing in his third full-length album.

His recent move to LA from New York, where he was based for the past few years, inspired the introspective bent of the album.

Unlike past projects, which were often written and recorded quickly, DeMarco says in a press release that starting a new life in a different city forced him to put the studio sessions on hold, giving him more time to stew over the songs.

The result is tunes that feel honest, sincere and heartfelt, songs that make you feel all cosy like a warm, familiar blanket.

Many of the tunes have a snug, folksy feel, never mind that he says it is his first time writing songs on an acoustic guitar.

  • INDIE ROCK/FOLK ROCK

  • THIS OLD DOG

    Mac DeMarco

    Captured Tracks

    4/5 stars

This Old Dog shines with nifty flourishes and is also his most synth-heavy album to date. DeMarco, who plays all the instruments in the album, sprinkles warm, wobbly synthesizers over tracks such as For the First Time and One More Love Song, giving the songs a mild, psychedelic feel.

A Wolf Who Wears Sheeps Clothes' sun-kissed melodies make it the album's catchiest track, likely to earn repeated plays. Dreams From Yesterday employs a mellow bossa nova beat as he ponders the futility of regret ("And no amount of tears/Could roll back all the years/Bring back all your dreams from yesterday").

As DeMarco feels his age ("This old dog ain't about to forget/All we've had/And all that's next," he mulls in the title track), his thoughts turn to his family on Sister (a melancholic ode to his half-sister) and My Old Man (about his estranged father).

There is the fear of turning out like one's parents, undesirable traits and all, as he sings in the latter track: "Uh-oh, looks like I'm seeing more of my old man in me."

He is also uncertain about his feelings for an absent parent.

"And even though we barely know each other/It still hurts watching him fade away," he croons in tender album closer Watching Him Fade Away, and one cannot help but feel for him.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 17, 2017, with the headline 'Old Dog, new tricks'. Print Edition | Subscribe