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Salad Days, the new album from Montreal-based Mac DeMarco (second from right) comes out on April 1.

Robert Redfield


By Mac DeMarco, from the forthcoming Salad Days (Captured Tracks)

Brotherhood is a fraught concept these days. Even without being shortened to "bro" – as in the dreaded "bros before hos" – it still carries a faint whiff of fraternal impropriety, at least when referring to one's brothers from other mothers.

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So it's slightly disconcerting when Mac DeMarco tosses it around. Sure, he's a hip guitar-slinging indie darling from out West, now based in Montreal, but maybe he's a bro in disguise? They do exist (you're not fooling anyone, Strombo), though it's hard to imagine a hockey-loving, beer-can-crushing type of bro pulling off DeMarco's self-effacing, barely-there presence.

No, bro-songs are made of sterner, more intense stuff than, say, the soft-rock guitars that DeMarco pours smoothly over the track like melted butter.

When he pleads, "take it slowly, brother; let it go, now, brother," his laconic tenor lingers on the vowels, as though he almost forgot what he was saying. He sounds less like he's talking one of his bros down from starting a bar fight, and more like he's acting as spirit guide to a fellow traveller who's lost in the wilderness of a bad trip – one that swings into view as the song ends.

But it's cool. He ain't a heavy bro; he's a brother.

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