Music

Music Review: Mac DeMarco, This Old Dog – it's a family affair

Canadian lo-fi singer-songwriter Mac DeMarco makes heavy emotion sound typically effortless in his family drama of a third album This Old Dog

With his gap-toothed grin and look of permanent dishevelment Mac DeMarco resembles a man barely able to elevate himself from the couch, much less to the height of headlining festivals, as he will do this summer. It’s a very merited step up for the Canadian lo-fi artist, who seemingly possesses the perfect genetic splice of Bruce Springsteen, Donald Fagen and a career weed dealer.

His third and most mellow full-length album, This Old Dog, maintains Mac’s signature tropes – lazy vocals over queasy-sounding yacht-rock guitars and keyboards – but moves into more personal space with songs addressed to family members, his absentee father in particular. In My Old Man, he cautions himself for slipping into some of his dad’s self-destructive habits, while over wonky electronic piano chords in closer Watching Him Fade Away, he laments fading contact with said old man, if only because it denies him a chance “to tell him off right to his face”.

But it’s Sister, a threadbare one-minute empathetic ode to his sibling that strikes the most tender note. Heavy as it may be, like everything else he does, DeMarco makes it sound practically effortless.

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Olly Murs on mental health and losing Caroline Flack: 'She visits me in my dreams – it's lovely'
Olly Murs and Caroline Flack in 2015
Mental health

Olly Murs on mental health and losing Caroline Flack: 'She visits me in my dreams – it's lovely'

Labi Siffre: 'I've had far more difficulties in my life due to being a homosexual than being Black'
Labi Siffre
Letter To My Younger Self

Labi Siffre: 'I've had far more difficulties in my life due to being a homosexual than being Black'

'When I was mentally ill, I could only listen to hard techno': Why is music so important to us?
Music

'When I was mentally ill, I could only listen to hard techno': Why is music so important to us?

Jingoism of Rule, Britannia! has long felt shameful. Is it finally time for BBC Proms to axe it?
A 1990s BBC Proms in the Park concert
Music

Jingoism of Rule, Britannia! has long felt shameful. Is it finally time for BBC Proms to axe it?

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know