Mac DeMarco – Here Comes The Cowboy

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Laid-back introspection from the master of chill

Image of Mac DeMarco – Here Comes The Cowboy

(Mac’s Record Label, out Fri 10 May 2019)

Here Comes The Cowboy. It’s a bit of an out-of-place term these days, “cowboy”. In film, the genre, despite notable exceptions, no longer has a stranglehold on the box office. Even cowboy heroes like Clint Eastwood haven’t survived as aspirational role models, and the less said about John Wayne the better. Mac DeMarco seems to have taken “cowboy” back to its roots – the wanderer, the drifter…

Here Comes The Cowboy as an opening track is a slow guitar-driven repetitive plod, temptingly skippable. Nobody is far more standard fare but has probably the most horrifying music video you’ll see this year, although debatably not as harrowing as the lyrics, which paint a bleak picture of a man hemmed in by success and genre. It becomes clear that it is the freedom of the cowboy DeMarco relishes. Finally Alone picks up the tempo and continues the odyssey of The Cowboy as he finds the freedom he craves. DeMarco has never been the most descriptive lyrically, but the pictures he can paint with blunt repetition rarely fail to make the heart ache.

Musically the album continues on the same lo-fi stoner vibe regular fans will relish. Chilled out percussion, stringy mellow guitar, sleepy bass. It could be considered plain if it wasn’t so warm and enveloping. The album slides along on the same wavelength, longing for peace, for quiet, for the chance to bow-out. Only two years have passed since his last album This Old Dog and one wonders if DeMarco just wants some time off. Choo Choo freshens up the album with a quick blast of funk, a palate cleanser making it possible to enjoy K: a love-song of almost hilarious laid-back proportions. But love isn’t always something to shout about. Sometimes it is just chill and beautiful. Like a sunset in the old west. Maybe this cowboy was too quick to forego companionship? There’s lots to contemplate in the dreamy back half of this album. Especially the way he rides out of town with the euphoric madness of Baby Bye Bye.

Regardless of how DeMarco feels about what has made him successful, he has wisely chosen not to shun it. The glowing music, the introspection and self-reflection, all wrapped up in a smooth lemonade-on-a-Summer’s-Day album is a fine testament to DeMarco as an artist. A drifter, a wanderer. There goes the cowboy…

Alistair is a fourth year Drama and Performance student at Queen Margaret University. He's going to be a playwright when he grows up. Until then he's occupying himself "daein' the drama" with Creative Electric; reading anything and everything very slowly and placing a respectable 3rd or 4th at the pub quiz.




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