“Thank you for joining me, see you again soon, buh-bye” announces a humble DeMarco as the album closes, a mature man since the days of his previous album 2. This time round Mac approached songwriting with a desire to be more honest. After days and days of touring with concerts that increased from 200 strong to around 1,500 as a result of his break into the mainstream, there is an air of tiredness to the songs here. Alas there is a maturity within tracks also, often dealing with concern for his girlfriend’s wellbeing. “I can’t just objectify Kiera as this lovey-dovey thing to sell my records” he states, well aware of the personal nature he has undertaken.
But musically there is little reinvention or growth to be found and Salad Days is more of a refinement of Mac’s style often feeling as an extension to 2. Had these tracks been on 2 then perhaps it’d be more forgivable, but the little change marks a potential stagnancy to DeMarco. The lonely atmosphere of songs like “Chamber of Reflection” and “Blueboy” hints that perhaps he has lost his spontaneity evident of his first two releases. Perhaps it is his signing to Captured Tracks, or the extensive touring and boredom that came as a result of playing the same sets and the same joke songs (Metallica/Limp Bizkit/The Police) but there is less of an effort from the man himself – 4 of the songs start with the same opening structure.
Overall, Mac DeMarco – whilst a pioneer of the jangle-pop genre – has lost some of the excitement and fun of his previous work in favour of his more laid back and reflective style, and while this is not a completely bad thing, it does leave the album feeling like it needed something more. Whether this is a conscious choice to remain the same force of reflective musicality or it came about as a result of a boredom of touring is yet unknown, but hopefully this album turns out to be just a minor bump in DeMarco’s road to stardom.