Mac DeMarco: Five Easy Hot Dogs album review

Bob Rafelson 1970 movie Five easy cuts It ends with the protagonist, played by Jack Nicholson, getting into a northbound truck and disappearing without revealing his identity. Mac DeMarco Too big to be anonymous, but this scene is a good starting point for thinking about his new image Five easy hot dogs. Since he sang “What My Mother Don’t Know Touched Me” in 2014 power daysAnd It was exploring the long post-teen hangover, the feeling of emerging on the other side of your young, mellow days and seeing the little that looks exciting in your future. This topic reached its peak in 2019 Here comes CowboyAnd A record whose burnt songs were full of dead friends, dead lovers, and uncertain plans. Now 14 Instrumentals made for a long, spontaneous road trip, with DeMarco vowing to “never come home to L.A. until I finish making a record.” This is a light-hearted album about lethargy, and it’s a pretty accurate portrayal of the periods of useless, money-burning time that accompany being on the road.

Five easy hot dogs Not DeMarco’s first instrumental release. 2015 others Recorded in five days and released as a free download, it grew naturally from a throb and a spark power days. sausage It continues in the lugubrious vein Here come the cowboys, It rarely exceeds the resting heart rate. The familiar Mac pad appears as soon as “Gualala” kicks in—a spidery acoustic guitar, a pleasingly circular bass beat, the push of a cheap drum machine, and synths that sound like a little bird sarcastically commenting on a (lack of) action. But instead of building, developing, or even meandering as his songs tend to do, these tracks sway for a while and come to an end. The songs themselves seem to be twiddling their thumbs, waiting for something more exciting to happen.

Like any Mac DeMarco version, Five easy hot dogs Resembles Gorillazthe fallAnd Another Road Diary whose half-made songs are named for the places where they were recorded. As with sausage, It was nature the fall To stand apart from the Gorillaz catalog, a repository of spontaneous ideas rather than a po-mo pop-prankster triumph to classify as a project first three albums. But throughout both records is the desire to make this music a little better than it needs to be, creating an atmosphere of confusion that verges on the actual feeling of grueling travel across continents. Both artists also succeed by incorporating cute little filigree that diversify the landscape. Gaining tension from a synthesized melody whose riffs hover in the air, “Victoria” throws creeping chords against an innocuous tiki bar backing. The sound effect of Pan Flute on “Portland 2” is so wacky that you might not even notice the little metallic pops in the background that contribute to its tactile feel and subtle percussion.

These moments speak to DeMarco’s gifts as an arranger and his ear for funny combinations, but even when held to the standards of his past musical works, Five easy hot dogs comes short. others More lively, lo-fi songs on the backburner offers groups, even those with names like “Ronald Donkey water deviceMystery and depth are missing from these clean, streamlined compositions. Although each track is named where it was recorded, there isn’t much to distinguish it from another stop, and although you can link locations on a journey, these tracks don’t form an arc but play as if they were stacked. You won’t find much of the thrills and legends of an American road trip here—just the feeling of being stuck between destinations and not quite sure where you’re going.

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Mac DeMarco: Five Easy Hot Dogs

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