Mac Demarco - Five Easy Hot Dogs

Regular price $ 26.99

Though for a time his puckish grinning and lackadaisical personality might have been the most immediately recognizable aspects of Mac DeMarco's public image, his perfectly arranged yet unlabored songwriting is what's always truly set him apart. DeMarco's fascinating perspectives and uniquely wobbly production updated the time-honored pop song format for a new generation of artists who were making straightforward melodic rock music of their own, and records like his 2014 slacker pop capstone Salad Days were instant classics. DeMarco's style matured somewhat as he went, but from the start he snuck sly jazzy chords and other subtly intricate musicalities into his would-be straightforward indie rock. Completely instrumental album Five Easy Hot Dogs leans more toward this side of DeMarco's creative energy than his excellence as an unassuming songwriter, though it still captures some of the off-kilter production and arrangement vantage points that define his sound. Recorded in transit as DeMarco moved through various stops on a road trip, the 14 pieces here were all written in and named after the towns they were created in. As a result, the production is no-frills and the songs themselves are pleasantly spare. Many consist of little more than smooth basslines and wispy synth kept afloat by extremely simple drum parts. The album is presented in the chronological order the songs were recorded in, beginning with the light wafts of acoustic guitar and synth on "Gualala" and ending at "Rockaway" in a similar (if slightly more bossa nova) mood. Along the way, Mac's level of ambition doesn't change much, and while the songs were all tracked in different locales, there's not much to differentiate them from one another or reflect those environmental changes. "Vancouver 2" is slightly more reflective than most of the other tracks, and the slowly scraped percussion ridges of "Edmonton" sound almost like a strained motor on a dying cassette four track. The percussion is where DeMarco seems to be having the most fun throughout Five Easy Hot Dogs, with the smiling stoner funk of "Chicago" and the warped "Victoria" (the song most in line with his signature production bleariness) all rich with clicks and knocks of interesting wood blocks and güiro sounds. The album is light, flowing, and friendly, sounding like low-energy library music at its best ("Chicago 2") and mere wallpaper at its least memorable. This release is probably more for Mac DeMarco super fans than casual listeners, as there's nothing resembling the happy-go-lucky hooks of his best-loved songs, just the incidental sounds collected on a slow, aimless wander.

1 Gualala 2:43
2 Gualala 2 2:26
3 Crescent City 2:27
4 Portland 3:05
5 Portland 2 2:12
6 Victoria 2:41
7 Vancouver 2:37
8 Vancouver 2 2:02
9 Vancouver 3 2:47
10  Edmonton 2:23
11 Edmonton 2 2:43
12 Chicago 2:24
13 Chicago 2 2:12
14 Rockaway 2:06