As I’m writing this, I want to shove my head straight through my laptop. Internally I’m screaming one “simple” question in my head, “why does Mac Demarco do this?” “Why shield gorgeous jangle pop with juvenile live shows and slimy presentation?” I wonder aloud. Trying to rationalize “an off-kilter persona is perfectly acceptable in rock,” I abruptly pause once realizing that if taken too far “off-kilter” can become an unwelcome diversion. Scanning my own library, most “slackers” I find are paper tigers. Stephan Malkmus appears borderline “lazy” in his delivery on a track like “Summer Babe (Winter Version)”, but he still had to get up off the couch and write the anthemic chorus.
I picture Edmonton-native Demarco sinking further into a couch, Cheetos crumbs and flecks of stale weed showering over him. Hearing the sedate guitar riffs and tottering “surf synth” of “Passing Out Pieces” doesn’t win any hearts or minds. Demarco volunteers, “watching my life pass right in front of my eyes” and as he says it you can hear the infinite resignation in his voice. He’s not powerless to stop what’s going on; so much as he’s unwilling. When you hear “oh is it boring” sighed, you want to shake Demarco out of his glassy-eyed stare. “What mom don’t know has taken its toll on me,” is the one kernel of honesty to be pried out of the gap-toothed singer. The slovenly exterior isn’t a distraction from the music; it’s a distraction from Demarco.