King of the slackers turns introspective lone ranger…

Since his debut, Mac DeMarco has managed to muster a plethora of acclaim from critics and listeners through his goofy personality, niche sound and feral live shows. On ‘Here Comes The Cowboy’ he’s put his foot on the breaks — albeit for 46 minutes — and delivered a diluted yet consistent record. Although at times it might seems less hopeful and buoyant than its predecessors, his undeniable charm acts as a magnetic force that’s hard to fight against.

The album’s opener doesn’t quite stimulate the senses compared to the likes of ‘Salad Days’ but comfortably sets the tone. Being the first album released on his own label, it’s understandable that DeMarco wants to explore his newfound freedom — even if that is as laid-back and luxuriate as he presents. It’s a shame moments like “’Nobody’ and ‘Finally Alone’ are few and far between — with their glistening melodies and gentle production they capture the ingredients needed for a shimmering ‘70s soft-rock track.

Whilst you could argue that hardcore Mac fans see far beyond the occasional up-tempo banger, there are times on this record where he loses his allure and evaporates into thin air. Tracks like ‘Choo Choo’ are as comical as the song’s title and although his demeanour makes this more bearable, it does distract from the substantial material throughout. However songs like ‘Heart To Heart’ are a pleasant addition to the record – and one of its stand-out moments – providing an electronica feel alongside its jazzy keyboard loops.

Near completion of the album it’s clear that not many of these tracks are immediately grabbing, but that’s not how they’re intended to be. Sure, you might not be screaming these lyrics from the top of your lungs anytime soon but they make a perfect soundtrack for a blue, sombre day.

On ‘All Of Our Yesterdays’, classic DeMarco shines through as he once again proves his ability to transport listeners to a secluded lakeside with rays shimmering between the leaves. The album’s closer ‘Baby Bye Bye’ is a sanguine farewell, packing a lengthy seven minutes worth of soulful vocals and even a hidden track titled ‘The Cattleman’s Prayer’ – a bolder moment on the album which brings Mac’s artistic flair full circle.

On ‘Here Comes The Cowboy’, DeMarco rides the line between being stripped-back and being forgettable, but it’s impossible not to indulge yourself in every lyric and note he sings. At first listen the slower pace may not appeal to everybody, and that’s fine, but at a time where everything seems so unsettled, it works great as a listenable stress ball.

7/10

Words: Nick Lowe

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