One wonders how many Mac Demarco devotees are actually into jam bands. How many listen to tracks by the main Mac and then switch to the real deal, some Steely Dan, Phish or maybe Grateful Dead?
Mac himself at least must certainly cull from those groovy masters when crafting new tracks. “On the Level” evokes modernized Steely Dan, smooth with a slight jazz progression and at least one riff that embeds itself into your mind. The latter sounds more electronic than guitar-based but still it hooks you into a trance, kind of like the demon featured in the video.
Or is it merely a devilish-seeming angelic harbinger of chill times and chill waves. “See me eye to eye / stand up like a man / even from the other side,” Mac croons, prompting us to face it, whatever that might be. Be it life, love, friends, work, he urges us to face what stands before us, whether good or bad. That’s the only way to be on the level, to be on his level.
Mac Demarco’s This Old Dog is out May 5th via Captured Tracks.