The title of the third full length from the Canadian musician, “Salad Days,” is an idiomatic expression that refers to a time of youthful ignorance where the lack of general knowledge of the world doesn’t weigh you down with guilt and worries, and only the sheer optimism of childhood is needed to lift you into happiness. The instrumental content on this album, for the most part, falls in line with the title’s connotation, being very carefree and laid-back, containing an ambivalence to the rest of the world.
The album’s lyrical themes, however, reflects a different story. Most of the songs deal with Mac having to cope with his sudden fame of being the blogosphere’s next biggest indie jokester, as well as keeping his relationship with his girlfriend afloat amid this success. Compared to his last album, which had songs as whimsical as his instrumentals, this album is a few shades darker, showing further depth within DeMarco’s songwriting skill.
In an interview with DeMarco, he said that his own music could be considered as the made up genre of “jizz-jazz,” which he defined as making music purposefully sound fucked up or wrong. This description is in reference to his guitar timbre and his recording styles, which make his songs sound very nostalgic and warbly, as opposed to a very clean, overproduced sound. The result is a surprisingly distinct sound that is unmistakable in this sea of lo-fi aesthetics that bands have been embracing for the last decade.
The instrumentals on this album fall into the DeMarco canon perfectly, packing the album full hook-filled songs and lax vocal delivery. The one difference between this record and previous DeMarco solo records is that there’s a few songs that heavily feature a synth, specifically on “Chamber of Reflection” and “Passing Out Pieces.” The added texture of synth brings some variety to the album, which is surprisingly refreshing since the guitar tones on this album are pretty homogenous, but never become tiring.
Overall, this album is a fun, easy-going blast of fun that anyone could get into. One recommendation is to definitely check out his 2012 breakout album, 2, if any of this interests you. That album is wonderful and fantastic like this, but there’s something about it that makes it an absolute treat to listen to every time.