Another One, the new record from Mac DeMarco, is characterised by a crushing sense of deja vu. Though, as ever, DeMarco charms throughout, he never seems confident enough to truly exert himself, and ultimately the songs sound like B-sides to the tracks featured on last year’s masterful Salad Days. Though the man’s distinctive sound is what won him his legion of fans in the first place, over the course of the record’s eight songs one gets the distinct feeling that this is ground that has been covered too many times before.
‘Jizz-jazz’ is the name DeMarco invented to describe his style, and it gives a good indication of the playful, relaxed quality to songs like The Way You’d Love Her and A Heart Like Hers. Not to imply that DeMarco isn’t open to adding the bitter to the sweet, however; a prevailing sense of love lost dominates Another One, from the chorus of the titular track (“Who could that be knocking at her door/Must be another one she loves”) to the gentle but emotive strains of Without Me.
But again, this melancholy is a part of DeMarco’s DNA, and a side of himself he showed off just as openly on Salad Days. Tracks like No Other Heart feel so indebted to that release that it’s almost as though DeMarco is shrinking into himself, moving in ever narrower circles towards a point that looks astonishingly and worryingly like mundanity.
Indeed, the most exciting track is the last one, My House By The Water, on which DeMarco gives his address and encourages fan to stop by for a cup of coffee. It’s a touching move, and another reason to like an eminently likeable man, but more than that, it’s something we genuinely haven’t seen from the man before. It’s the freshness of the track that ultimately impresses more than anything else.
It would be very wrong to imply that Another One is anything other than a pleasurable listen. It just lacks a sense of freshness; a sense of experimentation. It feels oddly like a step backwards, rather than the strong, decisive move into the future that it should be.