Mac DeMarco is something of an enigma. Having broke onto the scene back in 2012, the Canadian musician has consistently and painlessly courted success.
Since his breakout debut, DeMarco has candidly demonstrated his ability to follow up on his success, producing the critically-lauded Salad Days in 2014, a record which propelled him into the spotlight and towards the creation of his equally well-received third full-length release in 2017 with This Old Dog.
Mac’s appeal has always lain in his apparent ambivalence towards the musical process, wielding an effortless expertise that was at one point difficult not to find enviable and impressive.
However, with his latest effort, Here Comes The Cowboy, DeMarco has come-full circle; it is an album on which he doubles down on his slacker mentality, perhaps due either to the newfound freedom he has found through this first full-length release on his own record label or simply because the well is running dry on material to draw from when pushing a persona defined by its ostensible sincerity.
Of his latest effort Mac has stated that “this one is my cowboy record. Cowboy is a term of endearment to me; I use it often when referring to people in my life. Where I grew up there are many people that sincerely wear cowboy hats and do cowboy activities. These aren’t the people I’m referring to.” This quote perfectly summarises the sort of aimless intent present across Here Comes The Cowboy.
The album begins on a particularly asinine front with “Here Comes the Cowboy”, a song in which DeMarco repeats the titular refrain with little to no instrumental accompaniment and a doggedly underwhelming tone. It’s painfully uninteresting and it begins to feel almost as if Mac is playing with the goodwill that he has built up over years worth of solid releases. Equally irritating is “Choo Choo”, a lacklustre three-minute opus which seems to follow the exact structure of “Here Comes The Cowboy”, repeated buzzword intact.
There are isolated moments of brilliance present on Here Comes the Cowboy; it’s just that they’re far sparser than they have been on previous records. “Hey Cowgirl” is a bright if not a little quaint track which flirts with the wider instrumentation of previous records whilst the pre-released single “Nobody” is a charming ditty which exudes an earnestness that I had hitherto assumed came naturally to DeMarco’s music.
Mac’s latest release is unremarkable in almost every way, it is powerfully inoffensive in its delivery, instrumentation and intent which makes it hard to engage with and harder still to enjoy. Prior to its release the musician stated that “I’m in a place right now where I just don’t care”, after listening to Here Comes The Cowboy, I can’t say that I do either.