Recording information: Jizz Jazz Studios, Far Rockaway, Queens (2015).
In a not-so-secret message at the end of his 2015 mini-album Another One, Mac DeMarco offers up his home address in Far Rockaway, New York, inviting listeners to "Stop on by, I'll make you a cup of coffee." Four albums into his relatively young career, the transplanted Canadian has already earned a playfully eccentric reputation that mirrors his unconventional musical style. As admired for his oddball antics (homemade videos wearing Michael Jackson and Homer Simpson masks, holding a contest for fans whose prize is $0.69 from his bank account, that invitation for coffee) as for his laid-back songcraft, DeMarco has become an unexpected indie hero with his own highly recognizable sound. Beginning with 2012's Rock & Roll Nightclub, each release has been an improvement on its predecessor, with 2014's Salad Days landing atop many critic's year-end lists. Wasting little time on his follow-up, DeMarco quickly wrote and assembled this eight-song effort at his home on the southern shores of New York's Jamaica Bay in Queens. A loosely themed concept album about love, with each song exploring a different emotion (longing, jealousy, frustration, joy), Another One bears the distinctive hallmarks that have, so far, come to signify a DeMarco release. The unique, heavily-chorused guitar tone and the laid-back grooves rooted in '70s soft rock support gently catchy melodies with intelligent lyrics that nimbly tread the line between heartfelt and wry. Musically, it's no great departure from the world he created on Salad Days, but there's a feeling of listening in on an artist who is just coming into the peak of his powers, and the creative spirit behind these subtly charming songs is immediately apparent. As a collection Another One hangs together quite well with the wobbly, synth-led title cut and the warm pop groove of the marvelous "No Other Heart" making for two of the album's biggest standouts. Befitting the record's amorous themes, DeMarco's overall tone here is sweeter and more tender than before, even on more lighthearted fare like the frisky faux yacht rocker "Just to Put Me Down," where he flexes a bit of Jerry Garcia-inspired guitar muscle. The half-smirking irony that many critics have accused him of feels further distanced here as he continues to explore his capabilities as a songwriter and player. On the final track, he pairs a lonesome, dark-toned synth against a backdrop of waves lapping at his rocky shoreline in what feels a bit like an instrumental love song to a place and time. It feels ephemeral and so, perhaps, is DeMarco's tenure in the watery little house where this music was made. This beguiling little album is another feather in DeMarco's baseball cap, and will live on in his growing catalog, but you might want to head over to Queens for that cup of coffee before it's too late. ~ Timothy Monger
Rolling Stone - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "A boy hero to indie-rock fans who prize delicately demented pop, Mac DeMarco has the casual grace of early Beck, bringing a shambolic scuzz to the creamy sounds of Seventies soft rock."
Spin - "[T]he title track is pretty much the platonic ideal of Mac's current era, an exploration of self-defeating jealousy and distrust laid out on top of a slowly unspooling guitar line. The lyrics are poignant and simple."
Alternative Press - 4 stars out of 5 -- "The first three tracks, 'The Way You'd Love Her', 'Another One', and 'No Other Heart' kick the album off with welcome additions to the ever growing canon of Mac's quirky crooning."
Paste (magazine) - "[A]t no point throughout the whole outing does he lose out on poignancy because of his emphasis on simplicity."
Clash (magazine) - "[I]t explores the many facets of being in a relationship, from the jealous insecurities of the title track through to the affirmative pop of 'I've Been Waiting For Her', it's Mac at his most lackadaisical."