The return of indie rock slacker icon Mac DeMarco comes in the form of ‘Here Comes the Cowboy’. While his Viceroy smoking, baggy jean wearing aesthetic can be a turn off for some people the folk-rockers fourth full length comes off the back of one of his strongest albums so far, 2017’s ‘This Old Dog’.
The singles leading up to the release take a more minimal instrumental approach than the last album. The depth of the first single ‘Nobody’ was somewhat hidden by the lizard cowboy singing the words in the music video, but it is a strong portrait of an anxious DeMarco, fearing he is past his prime. The follow-up single ‘All of Our Yesterdays’ is an antidote to that fear looking past the doubt and reinvigorating the lost character singing in ‘Nobody’.
The strength of these two tracks showed hope for a strong return from the 29-year-old but on listening to the whole record, those hopes are unfortunately dashed pretty quickly. ‘Here Comes the Cowboy’ is completely half-baked. Songs like the title track offer almost nothing in the form of interesting melody or structure. Mac repeats the name of the song over and over as if waiting for a strike of inspiration to come along for the next line.
Similar tracks like ‘Choo-Choo’ follow suit, offering an engaging listen for a short time before it the monotony of the track becomes glaringly clear. The album has a few of Mac DeMarco signature love-songs, most notably ‘K’, dedicated to his long-term partner. The crooning adoration in the love is sweet admittedly but it’s nothing new at this stage.
The unfortunate thing is, sonically the album sounds fantastic. The production is clean and punchy on tracks like ‘Finally Alone’ but the song-writing barely holds that together with tracks like ‘Little Dog’s March’. With only a small handful of strong songs, ‘Here Comes the Cowboy’ is Mac DeMarco’s weakest album for a long time, so maybe the worries displayed in ‘Nobody’ are somewhat warranted.