At the end of Mac DeMarco’s latest studio album, the aptly titled mini-effort Another One, the gap-toothed, Canadian rock’n’roll ex-pat lists out his new address in Arverne, Queens (6802 Bayfield Avenue, for all you stalkers out there) and invites the listener to come over and have a cup of coffee with him sometime. It’s a fitting close to DeMarco’s most intimate album to date.
Compared to last year’s dazzling collection of lo-fi pop songs — Salad Days, which was recorded in his shithole apartment in Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy neighbourhood — Another One feels like, at least thematically speaking, the first album of his that is entirely a product of its surroundings.
Recorded at his new home in between tours, Another One finds DeMarco testing out the space of his new studio and gear (he’s moved on, at least partially, from his old pawnshop guitar to classic Fender Stratocasters), and it shows. From opening track “The Way You’d Love Her” to instrumental album closer “My House By the Water,” there’s a subtle but striking shift here in his approach to writing and recording, with each of his perfectly placed riffs and dad rock chords sounding somehow cleaner and clearer than ever before.
That sense of space finds it way into the lyrics, a combination of unrequited love-meets-anxious wondering about love lost that will make hardcore fans of his question whether or not this is, in some ways, a near-breakup album, or at least a reflection of him dealing with and fearing for his relationship while on the road.
DeMarco’s persona seems too playful to ever admit that, but repeated listening makes it hard not to see the album as some sort of quasi-confessional mini-masterpiece, and if not that, at least another example of his increasing strength as a songwriter.