For all the ways Another One is a simple, polished little edible derived straight from countless artists before him, Mac Demarco’s whole thing as a popstar who’s the sum of his parts is uncanny, like there’s been a hole in culture his shape ever since the internet was invented. There’s his instantly likeable demeanour that could make anyone want to be around him on a balcony couch at 1 am, but he’s still just a bit too off-the-cuff and cigarette-condoning for mainstream television interviews. There’s his appearance – some parts unemployable, more parts the next logical step to, and eventually a huge driver for, the youth fashion movement that was already underway when he came about. Then there’s his music, which offers an unprecedented dynamism between a YouTube-ready personality and straight as hell, airy pop from 50 years ago. Here we have a potty-mouthed, gap-toothed, chain-smoking, Vans-wearing dork adopting a dreamy loverboy singing persona, writing songs emotionally pulled from way before any of us were ever born – and thanks to the internet’s career-flinging tendrils, he’s pulled it off and got famous.
If you’ve heard Demarco’s music before, Another One will not surprise you at all. It’s a shortened collection of bite-sized, memorable tunes you can comfortably sing along to in a whisper that would have all been right at home on Salad Days. They’ve all still got the watery, bouncing rhythm section, that chirpy, bending lead, and those bass lines he nails so hard you could melt into an armchair hearing them, man. The album opens with lead single ‘The Way You’d Love Her’, where Demarco vaguely laments a friend’s hopeless love life. The chorus on the sedate title track is made incredibly satisfying by a sleepy synth dancing timidly around it. ‘A Heart Like Hers’ paints Demarco’s saddest picture yet, with a hook so intense it’s almost desperate. Penultimate track ‘Without Me’ feels like a song that’s always existed, with lyrics you’ll have memorized after a single listen. These are as far as the boundaries are pushed. The only slight drop in consistency here is ‘Just to Put Me Down’ where Demarco’s endless attempts to play not-quite-the-same chords as the rest of his songs crosses the line into filler territory, although it’s over before you’ll think to reach for the skip button.
In the Mac Demarco character the stars have aligned almost too perfectly, so much so that the songs on Another One are virtually indistinguishable from his previous efforts. Which means if you liked his other albums, this one’s good for the same thing. It’ll definitely help draw out those relaxed “why don’t we just listen to Mac Demarco?” moments 23 minutes longer, but it won’t do anything else no matter how hard you poke it.
Review by Harry Manson