A release that seems less like the effortless Mac of 2, Salad Days and even This Old Dog, but more like the output of an artist who doesn'tA release that seems less like the effortless Mac of 2, Salad Days and even This Old Dog, but more like the output of an artist who doesn't want to make the effort.
The first track, from which the album is based on, is a loop that goes on and doesn't have any sonic or lyrical impact. 'Nobody', though a much more stripped down Mac track, is really great. The palm muted guitars and lyrics create a genuine atmosphere that unfortunately doesn't permeate the rest of the album.
'Finally Alone' and 'Little Dogs March' are, for me, perfectly skip-worthy tracks. The energy seems completely void, even when it seems like Mac is evolving and trying to break out towards something different, the payoff is always marginalised by how little it actually works.
'Preoccupied' isn't a bad track, if anything it's one of the other highlights for me. There's shades of Mac playing his guitar akin to some of the most jam-worthy tracks on 2 and Salad Days, but quieter and more reserved. It's enjoyable, but still doesn't have the same hooks Mac is known for.
'Choo Choo' bases itself on a fairly catchy lick, but we really do not need to put up with two-and-a-half-minutes of Mac limply emulating a steam train and it seems like an utterly wasted space.
'K' is a peaceful song, not the worst on the album but again, we've had our fair share of Mac tracks that are about his other half, so it feels like the song itself is just retreading familiar themes (Still Together on '2', Let My Baby Stay on 'Salad Days').
'Heart to Heart' brings back some of the synth-laden tracks of 'Another One', with a walkabout bass-line, where Mac gesticulates once again on nostalgic love lost. Not a bad track, with phased synths on the chorus that add a sonic edge on the acoustic tracks that come before them, but a bit safe.
'Hey Cowgirl' is a laid back track that doesn't quite land the chord progression for me, but is again a safe entry.
'On The Square' has potential, but again I personally don't like the chorus chords on the synth, it's far too grating in pitch.
'All Of Our Yesterdays' is a track that sounds straight ripped from 'This Old Dog', which isn't a bad thing. It's probably one of the only tracks on the album, along with 'Nobody' and 'Preoccupied' that I'm happy to hear come on.
'Skyless Moon' has Mac crooning in increasing pitches to varying degrees of success. Again, it's a shame that a track that sounds like the demo of a song ends up on the album when some more time could have helped formulate a more interesting sound.
'Baby Bye Bye' incorporates a lot of the instrumentation Mac has developed over the course of his career. There's some piano chords and synths, acoustic stripped down segments, sliding guitars and his vocals that range from the mid-tempo 'Salad Days' to the delicate harmonies of 'This Old Dog', and it isn't a bad song. None of the songs are 'bad' (well, maybe Here Comes The Cowboy and Choo Choo), but the song almost tries to make up for the rest of the album's lack of character by transposing everything at once into a blender and hoping it comes out alright. It's a good closer, but a bit overwhelming with the slide guitar and back vocal 'woo!'s. As for the hidden track... I wouldn't bother sticking around for it.
TL;DR; Mac doesn't evoke the same energy or effort on this album, for the vast majority anyway. Some good songs still remain, but they're buried in between careless tracks that would suit better as demos rather than a finished product. Some people may be on board with the 'new' direction, but it's not for me.… Expand