Review: Deer Tick – Divine Providence
Published on March 23rd, 2012 | Jonny Abrams
The Rhode Island five-piece conjure up quite the racket on this, their fourth studio album, and it is sporadically an inspired one. Opener “The Bump” is one of the outstanding tunes of 2012 thus far, like “Rainy Day Women ♯ 12 & 35” sung by a loon on fuzz guitar, John McCauley’s inspired, rasping vocals taking a sharp melodic twist into a mini master class of simple yet effective chorus-writing.
“We’re full grown men / But we act like kids” said chorus has it, and the ’50s call-and-response section of “I got a name (He’s got a name) / They call me The Bump (They call him The Bump) / One night with me (One night with him) / Is gonna mess you up” is so playfully and enthusiastically staged that Deer Tick are never in danger of taking their old-fashioned, good-time rock and roll blast into vacuous Jet territory.
Despite getting underway with an attitudinal utterance of “you fuckin’ douchebag”, “Funny Word” is also tremendous, wielding a psych-glam chorus worthy of Supergrass, but self-explanatory rocker “Let’s All Go to the Bar” toes a dangerous line between fun and just plain dumb with lines like “I don’t care if you puke in my ride / Baby, just as long as you take your piss outside”. “Something to Brag About” also betrays its title by indulging its ’50s rock aspirations at the expense of a memorable tune.
This is a shame, because Deer Tick are more than capable of leaving a mark by dint of melancholic country-blues (“Clownin’ Around”), hypnotic comedown grooves (“Chevy Express”), breezy pop (“Make Believe” and “Miss K”), soulful, The Band-esque elegance (“Now It’s Your Turn”) and even paranoid minimalism (“Electric”). There’s even a hidden track which sounds like Bob Dylan changing the lyrics to “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad”, and it’s really rather good.
In the main, this is downright decent – and occasionally very good – stuff that should mark Deer Tick as a worthwhile presence at festivals. Another good band with ‘deer’ at the start of their name, then…
Rocksucker says: Seven-and-a-half Quails out of Ten!