Mac Demarco – Five Easy Hot Dogs

· by Stephan Boissonneault

It must be weird being Mac Demarco. You’re a kooky guy that single-handedly inspires thousands of guitar players to try and replicate your lo-fi, bright, indie guitar style with two albums within the span of two years, fly under the radar for a bit, move to LA from the cold pit that is Edmonton, and now continue your sojourn into success.

But people expect you to produce gold every time and get super excited whenever a new project with your name attached in announced. And you can’t keep making the same album over and over right? So what do you do? You mature, reflecting on the reason you became a musician; to make music, not for them, but for yourself.

This is what Mac Demarco has been doing for the last seven to eight years. He’s a creative guy who is always working on something and he has enough notoriety to always have his projects get the media attention they deserve or tour whenever he wants. He’s set, as far as the struggling musician is concerned. He’s got his style down, but he’s always trying to change it up, as with his 2017 album This Old Dog or Here Comes The Cowboy (which I completely forgot about until researching) in 2019, which had him experimenting with more synthesizers over his calming vocals and halcyon-soaked guitar riffs.

Now we have a full instrumental album from him called Five Easy Hot Dogs—not his first, as Some Other Ones was record in five days, completely instrumental—which was spawned between solo jams he made while on a road trip from Los Angeles to Utah. Every track is named after the city it was written and the whole album has an airy bedroom pop quality to it with light acoustic guitar, a looped synth line, and some light percussion. I’ll admit that the vocals are missed and during songs like “Crescent City” or “Vancouver 3,” you’re waiting for them, waiting for the point or theme to present itself.

If Mac wanted to create an album to be used as background music for an endless road trip, I’d say he succeeded. There’s nothing completely marvel about what he’s doing, save for a few guitar passages that sound like they’re being slowly put out of tune, but the album has some nice jams. You can imagine some mountain road landscapes in a sepia-tinted haze if you really want to, but other than that it’s just cool chill beats to study to elevator music. Mac knows a good guitar or synth hook when he finds it but many of the tracks just seem to meander and have no real pay off. It kind of feelings like a bunch of demos, that he could have turned into real powerful songs. But maybe that wasn’t his intention. He’s got his own record label for a reason. Again, he’s making music for himself, not everyone else.

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