Mac DeMarco's best trick is keeping us guessing what is real, and consistently putting out music good enough to maintain our interest in that question. How he cuts through a touching love song with a piercing whinny, or the fact that the filthy brilliance of his party songs could be sneers at the spaces they inhabit... these ironic fits would all be boring if the music surrounding them didn't hit the heart so completely. And why should it change the formula? The best part about finding a gold nugget can be sifting through the muck.
After "Passing Out Pieces" sounded a 21 horn salute of total defeat it seemed Mac was secure in his unconscious charisma to lay his strife bare and put the charm on autopilot. "Brother," his newest single, is not that, though it could be a sagely response to all that turmoil. The hook "Take it slowly, brother / let it go now brother" would be condescending in lesser hands, but Mac persists, bringing Donnie & Joe Emerson’s low-tide rock with its glassy guitar lines and two-steps-from-being-a-cult daze. He's back to flirting with camp and sentiment, but like his previous song, there's still a weariness: he's far from the stratosphere of love spread on "Dreamin" and is now writing salves for the person he either still is or once was.