By E.R. Pulgar
Mac DeMarco has become an idol of sorts for every greasy hipster with a heart of gold for being exactly who those greasy hipsters want to become. His pastiche image, despite coming off as crusty, has become an endearing part of his stage persona due to its raw, small-town kind of honesty, a trait that also accompanies his music. The slacker rock king is known to have a penchant for jangly guitar, and after a while you kind of expect more of the same. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing–especially not on his newest release.
“Another One,” a mini-LP, rounds out at no more than 23 minutes, but it’s an absolute punch to the gut for every second. This gentle assault on the senses starts out in typical DeMarco fashion: a jumpy, chugging guitar riff that should segue into a happy song, but “The Way You’d Love Her” is anything but, with DeMarco’s whispery voice beckoning you to chill in his sad, honest universe. The enticing juxtaposition of depressing lyrics with a happy instrumentation is the string that ties this album together so nicely, although it’s something longtime fans will probably expect.
DeMarco’s evolution instrumentation wise has not evolved much; “No Other Heart” hearkens to “Dreaming” a song from his album, “2.” Despite this seeming crutch, it makes the album stronger because of the resonance of his lyrics. This is a grown up, insecure, and deeply melancholic DeMarco, one even more eager to split his soul in half for the listener to understand his pain. You can almost imagine a tear falling from the buck-toothed troubadour’s eyes as he sings about being betrayed by a lover (“A Heart Like Hers”) or imagining life without his love (“Without Me.”)
The two aforementioned songs are standouts, but nothing can really compare to the title track, it’s melancholic piano run and light guitar blares perfectly capturing the melancholic nature of the album. The lyrics are even more heart wrenching: “Feeling so confused, / don’t know what to do, / afraid she might not love you anymore.” Despite the album title being a bit of a tongue-in-cheek for DeMarco releasing another work, another semblance of the sense of humor expected of the singer, the chorus of the actual song reveals “Another One” as the other man his significant other loves. It’s a heartbreak anthem for anyone that’s ever been cheated on or dumped because affections shifted, all told through twanging guitars and stoner-rock vibes.
“Another One” does have slow moments, such as the absolutely forgettable “Just to Put Me Down,” which features one lyric repeated ad nauseum to no particular effect, but that doesn’t stop it from ending on a strong note. The intimate “My House by The Water” is a 180 from his style; dominated by the soothing sound of waves splashing and a melancholy piano run at about the 30 second mark, this could easily be mistaken for an instrumental nature track. Then comes the ending, where DeMarco releases his address, and welcomes the listener to come over sometime for a cup of coffee. For those in New York, that’s a train ride away, and it’s probably worth the trek to drink some Hot Roast with the man himself and ask him who the hell broke his heart to such an extent. “Another One” might be one more LP in the list of countless heartbreak-inspired collections, but it’s definitely one of the finer, shorter, and more intimate on that list.
E.R. Pulgar is The Highlighter’s Lead Editor. Email him at email@example.com