Great things often come in a pattern of three, with Mac DeMarco he grasps the acoustic soundboard and digs right through heartstrings. On his third studio record, This Old Dog shows new tricks while combining a memorable favorite for something gorgeous that hits both peaks and valleys through the 2017 release.
DeMarco is best known for his nostalgic, but present-tense ability to raise memories through a single instrumental and vocal production. As he begins to slowly add in and fade other elements into the mix, he illustrates a passion for beauty and creation under one roof. “This Old Dog” almost invokes tears at every step with a reflection on progression through layers of sound. DeMarco describes, “This old dog ain’t about to forget, all we’ve had and all that’s next. Long as my heart’s beating in my chest, this old dog ain’t about to forget.” He uses these strings that sculpt warmth to the track as a humble DeMarco pours this somber, but still loving display out.
In other instances, This Old Dog ditches a more melancholy style for the upbeat performances of “Still Beating” where a broken-hearted story can lead to one of the more uplifting uses of an electric guitar on the record. As the waves of notes cascade in DeMarco’s performance, his sound becomes synonymous with a spaced-out boost of eclectic work. He describes, “Honey I cried too, you better believe it. Honey my heart still beats for you, even though you don’t feel it,” through this loose wall of sound. It appears under a microscope that This Old Dog switches styles in a versatile sense and is able to construct sensibility.
One of the truly passionate displays comes from “Moonlight on the River” where the guitar hits this instant dopamine note within the brain. DeMarco uses his smooth vocal capability to subtly suggest these dynamic chord changes from within. With the ending sections of “Moonlight on the River,” DeMarco moves to control the microphone with these howl-esque vocals as the guitars rage alongside. Every piece of the ambitious puzzle falls into place as his identity works to form this reverb-heavy, almost uncentered force of gravity. With the guitar that becomes almost unrecognizable by the end of the track, This Old Dog follows a similar suite to die out among the 42-minute push through.
As the curtain begins to close, DeMarco decides to end through isolation, with just his vocals and a single instrumental just as it had begun. Incredibly simple, but capturing and effective as he fades into the background, showing that This Old Dog can perform a new trick, just this one time.