Mac Demarco
Here Comes The Cowboy

(Mac’s Record Label)


The opening track of this fourth LP consists of Mac DeMarco repeating the album’s title dozens of times, backed only by a repeated guitar strum and a rudimental drum tap. In one sense, he evokes the sardonic spirit of Bill Callahan, the track a depiction of the pearly wise, whiskey-stained outlaw troubadour that Mac is morphing into, a lifetime of experience contained in a single phrase. Certainly that’s the sense DeMarco is gunning for. In another, far more honest sense, DeMarco is doing nearly nothing for three minutes.

Whilst the rest of the album’s thirteen tracks at least expand their visions a little further than this, the sense of gentle uneventfulness is still overbearing. DeMarco has long been established as the modern master of the lazy, ambling slacker ideal in indie music, but where a record like ‘Salad Days’ had majestically written melodies to fall back into, ‘Here Comes the Cowboy’ forgoes such structure, indulging in the lethargic haze to the point, frankly, of boredom.

‘Little Dogs March’ again finds the Canadian stuck in a rather simplistic loop, as does ‘Hey Cowgirl’. Only on occasions does he muster the energy to break out of his fug, as on ‘Nobody’, which has some small measure of progression, or the closing track ‘Baby Bye Bye’, which at least gives itself some time to blossom into something degenerative and unpredictable for its wackily enjoyable denouement.

Devotees to the DeMarco catalogue may still find comfort in this over-simplification of his form, but at what stage does his ineffable stoner rock become nothing more than ignorable, repetitive muzak?