Mac DeMarco: 2

    Scuzzy Montreal crooner Mac DeMarco’s appropriately titled second album, “2,” is not the kind of album that immediately makes an impression on the listener. In fact, if you’re not paying close attention, “2” can sound positively unoriginal — its meandering guitar lines and shuffling rhythm section are reminiscent of a multitude of bands who have come to prominence in recent years.

    The difference, however, between Mac DeMarco and artists like Beach Fossils or Teen Daze is that DeMarco possesses the kind of irreverent songwriting chops that allow him to create beautiful, carefully crafted (and above all, extremely catchy) melodies that still maintain the illusion of effortlessness. Highlights “My Kind of Woman” and “Annie” sound like lost classic rock anthems, while “Ode to Viceroy,” an homage to DeMarco’s preferred brand of budget-priced Canadian cigarettes, uses its gritty, unflattering subject matter to disguise a melody that could be lifted off a golden-era Elton John album.

    If “2” contains any faults, it’s that DeMarco’s unaffected production style often becomes a victim of its own unobtrusiveness, allowing DeMarco’s catchy songs to become almost unnoticeable under the blankets of yacht-rock guitar tones and linear rhythmic decisions. However, these moments occur rarely, and “2” stands as an excellent statement, one that places DeMarco alongside artists like Grimes and TOPS in Montreal’s increasingly exciting art rock scene. (8/10)

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