It’s not every day that I care to admit that I came dangerously close to missing two great albums by the same artist in one year.. But that’s exactly what happened whilst I was on my month long trip away from home around 2 months ago.. South East Asia is a crazy yet beautiful place that I’d recommend that any of you readers out there should certainly check out.. But being away for a month really did mean that I had super limited time to listen to any new music with any kind of open mind.. Thankfully one day on an 8 hour bus ride between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap in Cambodia I finally allowed myself to spend some quality time with my iPod.. and I’m so glad that I did.. Through the 8 hour trip I managed to come across several new artists that I hadn’t listened to before.. But most importantly I was able to come across Rock and Roll Nightclub.. an album by Canadian slack-rocker Mac Demarco which was released in the first half of 2012 as his first full-length album..
At first I was a little confused as to what I was listening to.. Rock and Roll Nightclub seems to sink or swim based on whether the listener can attach themselves to the vibe that the faux radio stations and semi-creepy lyrics are trying to convey.. Luckily for me this wasn’t such a problem.. I found myself quite intrigued by what De Marco had done with Rock and Roll Nightclub so much so that it became my album of choice whilst overseas.. I really suggest you check it out before listening to 2 after reading this review to give the albums a fair comparison against one another as they really are chalk and cheese.. Whilst Rock and Roll Nightclub has a much sleazier vibe (which was purely intentional on Mac’s part) 2 feels a little more solid and cohesive when taken as a whole, as if Mac has evolved into a far more mature artist between the two releases.. Having said that, I decided that it’d only be fair to review 2 as it’s Mac’s latest release as well as the fact that I think that it’d appeal to a much broader range of people who’d actually read the site.. I hope you enjoy the review..!
The album starts out with Cookin’ Up Something Good, a song that sounds just as upbeat as anything else out there, yet it’s actually quite lyrically dark.. Conjuring images of an overworked housewife with a husband who spends his spare time cooking drugs in the basement.. It’s this kind of lyrical trickery that made me really listen up and pay attention to De Marco.. It really became quite apparent to me that Mac is more than capable of writing music that has an equal amount of lyrical and musical panache.. And this is something that’s repeatedly shown through-ought 2…
Mac then moves on to the very laid back Dreaming… Which struck me as such a big departure from the glossiness of anything that was on Rock and Roll Nightclub.. This is a song that’s criminally catchy and makes for good summer listening with its mix of shifting vocals that range from somewhat of a croon to lower falsetto.. This is a part of why I really connected with this album at an even higher level than I did with Mac’s previous effort.. De Marco just has a voice that’s easy to listen to in just about every song he lends his vocal chords to…
2 then shifts up a gear into the effervescent 80′s throwback style of Freaking Out The Neighbourhood which is one of the more up-tempo tracks on the album and doesn’t out stay its welcome at all.. I personally think that one of the things that made this album as good as it is was Mac’s ability to switch tempo between each track… Also, whoever decided on the final track ordering needs to be commended too.. I really wouldn’t have wanted to experience the album in any other order than it’s currently in..
Which brings me to my 2 personal favourite tracks included on the album.. Firstly, the very catchy and ironic Ode To Viceroy.. which is essentially a song about Mac’s undying love for a particular brand of cigarettes.. And secondly the very moody My Kind Of Woman which is a love song of sorts that doesn’t conform to the usual hallmarks of love tunes that have come before it.. Whilst Ode To Viceroy starts out with bendy guitars and finishes with a great echoing guitar solo (which believe me will get stuck in your head just as badly as it did mine..) which isn’t replicated anywhere else on the album, My Kind Of Woman takes a far slower approach and builds into an eventual fadeout that feels entirely appropriate..
Apart from the tracks that I’ve mentioned in this review there are many more gems to be found in amongst 2.. This is an album that definitely rewards listeners that are prepared to give it a chance to grow on them.. It must be said that in my time with 2 I was greatly surprised with how different it was to the album that preceded it, but I think that it’s also a great testament to the fact that an artist has the power to grow so impressively in such a short amount of time.. If you’re the kind of person that doesn’t mind listening to something that’s a little more stripped back and doesn’t rely on any sort of electronic synthesizer wizardry to hold itself together, I personally think that you’ll get a kick out of the witty, whimsical and downright smoothness that this album has to offer..
What did YOU think of this album? Love it, or Hate it? Leave a comment below!