If, in terms of rock ‘n’ roll heirarchy, Elvis was the original king and Prince his logical successor, one has to wonder which of today’s young upstarts will seize the crown when that day inevitably arrives. On the basis of Rock And Roll Nightclub, his debut album for the Captured Tracks label, you might want to put some early money on it being Mac DeMarco. The Vancouver native, who has previously recorded under the pseudonym Makeout Videotape, simply oozes star quality, combining ’50s matinee idol charm with raw, freaky sexuality; a hunk of burning love who isn’t averse to stripping off and caking himself in make-up for photo-shoots. Musically, too, DeMarco turns out to be some sort of hybrid of Presley and His Purple Highness. Throughout the album, the singer employs a deep, drawling croon that is a curled lip away from pure parody, but backs it up with a procession of rockabilly guitar hooks that suggest his hip-swivelling is nothing less than sincere; throw in some rudimentary disco and funk beats that sound like they were found in the presets of a decaying keyboard used on Dirty Mind, and you have a set of songs that skillfully combine smooth grooves and primal swagger. There’s a variety here that prevents things getting predictable, as evidenced by the shuffling boogie of “I’m A Man” and sickly sweet love song “She’s Really All I Need“, but whilst you could reel off a dozen names that seem to have inspired this young auteur – from Ariel Pink (whose lo-fi productions clearly influenced the tape hiss and recurring melted-vinyl wobble that gives the album its warped, or – to quote the artist himself – “jizz jazz” feel) to David Bowie in his androgynous alien phase – DeMarco has crafted a singular and, more impressively, unique sound that sets him apart from the crowd, and a debut that marks the arrival of a surefire future star.
Rock And Roll Nightclub is out March 27 on Captured Tracks