22/06/2019: “Ode To Viceroy” by Mac DeMarco

Mac DeMarco is a star with legions of fans, a distinctive sound, and a penchant for unusual stage antics, fashion and video visuals.

There’s clearly some influence from the largely internet based Vapourwave scene, or whatever all the collection of vaguely crusty 90s inspired scenes are called. But the root of his sound on this track is a kind of psychedelic folk rock. His use of vintage instruments and a soft playing style ensure that the whole thing seems vaguely anachronistic in a way that’s hard to place.

The guitar work on here is praiseworthy indeed. The rhythm guitar is a washed out, chorus soaked twangy trip, lovely to listen to. The lead guitar is a different beast altogether, agile and clear, yet still imbued with the echoey otherworldly nature of the rest. There’s a certain surferness to the affair.

The song is a love letter to the Viceroy brand of cigarettes. As you can imagine, this is not a conventional style, to cheerfully salute something that you know is killing you slowly.

As with much of DeMarco’s music, there’s a wry undertone to this, a self-awareness that smoking is a part of his life. It’s not meant to be taken seriously, that’s the point to take away here.

“Ode To Viceroy” was released in 2012 on the second Mac DeMarco album, 2.

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