The last 40 seconds of Mac DeMarco’s 2 (spoiler alert?) feature a one-way conversation. After strumming the last chord of “Still Together”, we hear DeMarco set down his strings, lean over and half-whisper to an anonymous companion “Kiki”, “Hey, time for bed, you’re sleeping/You have a little indentation from the glasses that you fell asleep in.”
The last-minute grace note is equal parts cute and winking. Like Real Estate’s Days, its stylistic cousin from last year, 2 is certain to incite just as much high acclaim as frustrated backlash to all the acclaim for such technically basic music, and you can bet the farm that the first criticism you’ll hear will be a slightly prolonged version of “zzzzz”. Also like Days, 2 is one of the most deceptively masterful exhibitions of sedated and sun-soaked guitar rock you’ll hear all year.
DeMarco tones down the Elvis-in-lipstick pastiche he wore so prominently on his Captured Tracks debut EP, Rock and Roll Nightclub, instead shifting his focus towards restraint and consistency. 2’s subject matter, meanwhile, is as loose and detached as the countless airy guitar riffs that accompany it – DeMarco is equally carefree singing about unemployment in “Freaking Out the Neighborhood” as he is while serenading his favorite cigarette brand in “Ode to Viceroy”. Half-asleep though he may sound on 2, DeMarco zeros in on a certain zone that happens to celebrate underachievement, and yet the record itself is far from one. He owns these songs of slackerhood completely, delivering a lean collection of 11 that concisely communicate the nature of the 20-something daydreamer – no more, no less.
Essential Tracks: “Ode to Viceroy”, “Robson Girl”, and “Sherrill”