North Texas Daily

Mac DeMarco serves mellow monotony in ‘Five Easy Hot Dogs’

Mac DeMarco serves mellow monotony in ‘Five Easy Hot Dogs’

Mac DeMarco serves mellow monotony in ‘Five Easy Hot Dogs’
January 27
13:00 2023

Mac DeMarco is no one new to the indie music scene. With a decade of experience under his belt, it’s expected for the old dog to have gone through some musical evolution prior to his latest release.

However, his new album “Five Easy Hot Dogs” goes to show that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

Inspired by life on the road, DeMarco’s 14-song tracklist illustrates his journey on a 2022 road trip, throughout which the album was recorded. Each location-inspired track contains its own unique quirk while staying within the overall compositional theme.

The album’s opening track “Gualala” immediately produces DeMarco’s signature sound. Acoustic guitar scratches alongside wave-like synthesizers transport listeners to the carefree edge of the Californian coast. Its sister song “Gualala 2” contains a grittier, more natural composition by contrast. Listeners may picture themselves walking amongst the more rugged coastal trails.

DeMarco then heads east for a pit stop in Oregon with his second set of twinning tracks, “Portland” and “Portland 2.” As opposed to his introductory seaside tunes, the artist takes a more earthy, almost folk-like approach to the Beaver State. Featured winds in the second song create an upbeat quirkiness representative of the oddity that is Portland.

Next up is DeMarco’s home country of Canada, where a majority of the album’s center is located. Vancouver is the only city to inspire three tracks, and the artist clearly demonstrates as to why.

“Vancouver” shows the more goofy side to DeMarco’s production, with a wobbly synth rhythm that illustrates the city’s everyday bustle. “Vancouver 2” slows things down to focus on soft acoustics and wooden sounds, highlighting the area’s more natural landscape. The third accompaniment, “Vancouver 3,” feels like a new age yacht rock instrumental fitting for the evening shorelines.

DeMarco concludes his trip in the American northeast. The final three tracks all encompass the region’s own mellow vibes with a more urban sound than that of its western counterparts. “Rockaway” concludes the album with sets of synth and soft drums to capture the leftover lethargy after a long car ride.

When played in sequence, the complete tracklist demonstrates a newfound maturity in DeMarco’s production skills. His ability to paint a picture without words is impressive in itself, but nothing that hasn’t already been seen before. However, making a point to illustrate a single location from varied perspectives shows a more refined sense of dedication and creativity in his craft.

By creating moving sounds out of inanimate places, DeMarco shows soul can be found in the inconspicuous. While “Five Easy Hot Dogs” is not DeMarco’s most exciting project, it still serves a purpose. Each track may seem repetitive and bleary at face value, but offer more when viewed as a collective.

Overall, the album’s overarching sense of monotony embodies the essence of a “keep on trucking” road trip mentality. Roadway travels are not always driven by wanderlust desires. Sometimes it’s only a direct, simple need to get from point A to point B. If anything, DeMarco has proved his ability to stay true to his source material.

His intimate examinations into his cross-country travels prove more lies within the commonplace environments we interact with. As an outsider peering in, DeMarco is able to give insight into our overlooked surroundings.

“Five Easy Hot Dogs” effectively highlights the less exciting parts of life. Rather than get lost in the dreariness, DeMarco tries to find the exceptional in the everyday.

The day-to-day drudge isn’t always thrilling, but DeMarco’s laidback tunes might just be enough to keep us chugging along.

Samantha’s rating: 4/5

Featured Illustration by Erika Sevilla

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Samantha Thornfelt

Samantha Thornfelt

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