[sic] Magazine

Mac DeMarco – Rock And Roll Night Club

There are some very strange goings-on at Mac DeMarco ‘s Rock And Roll Night Club – a place decidedly more Studio 54 in its outré leanings than, say, a more traditional alternative haunt like CBGB. Take DeMarco’s obsessional, brand-checking pop ode to denim “Baby’s Wearing Blue Jeans”. Sure, its heartland guitar licks and warped solos combine to simultaneously recall Mike Sniper and Kurt Vile , but it’s the track’s fetishist attention to detail that lingers longest.

Not satisfied? Then how about “I’m A Man”, which probably should have been called “I’m A (Man’s) Man”. It’s delivered with a wink, playing on the is-he-isn’t-he homosexual vibe first laid down by the pouting cover art. Add to this the odd pacing and tripping melodies of cuts like “European Vegas”, not to mention the two sleazy radio skits, the first of which brings to mind Mark & Lard’s much-loved character Fat Harry White, and you’ve got a heady cocktail indeed.

It’s with little surprise then that we learn DeMarco himself refers to his sound as “jizz jazz”, but, ignoring this likeable linguistic minimal pair, there’s little truth to be found in the cute précis. For DeMarco’s Rock And Roll Night Club is as much indie as it is rock and DeMarco present is as happy as DeMarco past in jangling pop. Warm and heartfelt, “She’s Really All I Need” duly goes very Deerhunter very quickly. It has a delicious laissez-faire attitude, which is justifiably revisited for the horizontal closer and for “Only You” – a track taken from DeMarco’s previous frazzled pop project Makeout Videotape .

At his best – and there are plenty of examples – DeMarco is undeniably a master of VIP moments. The woozy title track, which again seems to play a few revolutions off pace (the warped sheen acquired suggesting at an affinity with arch weirdo Ariel Pink ), is, for example, a disorientating romp in which we’re treated to some louche crooning and lo-fi echoes of Bowie circa “Let’s Dance”. DeMarco probably overdoes the closing vocal repeats, something he’s again guilty of in the heavily repetitive “Moving Like Mike”, but these slight detractions are categorically the exception rather than the rule.

When the dust settles however, Rock And Roll Night Club remains a precarious, precocious record – one seemingly made both by a showman and an introvert. In doing so DeMarco has created something beyond the sum of humble parts. His record has high aspirations, wanting to be at least two things at once and, rather than being neither as so often is the case, he instead turns in a unique form of musical androgyny.

Advised downloads: “Baby’s Wearing Blue Jeans” and “She’s Really All I Need”.

~Rock And Rock Night Club is out now on Captured Tracks .~

Mac DeMarco @ bandcamp