Courtesy of Pitchfork

“Hello, Mac here, hope this note finds you well. I made some recordings in 2022 and we’re putting them out in January of 2023. They are called ‘Five Easy Hot Dogs,’ I hope you enjoy. Bye bye, Mac,” Mac DeMarco wrote in his album announcement for “Five Easy Hot Dogs.”

Last year, the indie-alternative cult favorite DeMarco embarked on a road trip following his 2022 North American tour. Beginning in January in Gualala, California, he explored the United States and Canada, ending in Rockaway, New York. His newest album, “Five Easy Hot Dogs,” which was released on Jan. 20, 2023, pays homage to the cities he visited; each song was recorded and mixed in their respective destinations. 

As a solely instrumental album, “Five Easy Hot Dogs” does not stray too far from DeMarco’s discography.  DeMarco has already dropped an instrumental album, titled “Some Other Ones, in 2015. However, “Five Easy Hot Dogs” shows some growth in DeMarco’s sound, which has become slower and more focused on the actual instrumentation. DeMarco’s earlier releases have been more upbeat and lyric-based, with some favorites being “2” and “Salad Days.” 

 Reminiscent of Beach House’s and The Lumineers’ melodies, “Five Easy Hot Dogs” showcases DeMarco’s talent, not only as a singer-songwriter but also as an arranger and composer. Pitchfork’s Daniel Bromfield said it perfectly: “You won’t find much of the excitement and mythology of the American road trip here—just the feeling of being stuck between destinations and not being totally sure where you’re going.” This is exactly DeMarco’s sound. This may sound like an unprofessional description, but it really is “chill music.”

Being that it is an instrumental album, the songs flow together and none stand obviously apart from the rest. It is apparent that DeMarco’s road trip was a quiet one, but the songs still reflect their cities. The subtle guitar riffs and synthesizer sound of “Gualala” encapsulate the Northern California feel. It brings you to a partly cloudy beach with cold sand, starting the album — or road trip — off on a coastal note. The last song on the record, “Rockaway” (his home of Far Rockaway in Queens, New York) brings a more urban feel to the album. It’s slow and the sparse synth noises feel as if you are walking down Broadway in SoHo. It ends the trip again on a coastal note, but the city coast rather than the beach coast. The song also has a homey feel, knowing that it was recorded in DeMarco’s hometown. 

DeMarco told Rolling Stone that he stayed in cities for different lengths of time and that the songs emerged from whatever came out of that. “I was in it while I was in it, and this is what came out of it, just the way it was. This record sounds like what rolling around like that feels like. I hope you enjoy,” DeMarco said. 

Five Easy Hot Dogs” is a different version of DeMarco. Some fans may know him from his immediately recognizable drum beats, absolutely crazy personality on stage or simply by his songs perfect for a summer playlist. But “Five Easy Hot Dogs” showcases that sometimes it is refreshing to just focus on the music. 

Rating: 6/10

This appeared in the February 9th Daily Nexus printed edition.