Deer Tick – Divine Providence (Partisan Records)
April 12, 2012 by Edward Clibbens
For those who have heard the truly fantastic ‘Walls’ from Deer Tick’s ‘Tim E.P.’ that came out earlier this year; ‘Divine Providence’ will most likely disappoint you. Where ‘Walls’ was all brooding guitars, and grungy Americana. ‘Divine Providence’ tends to ooze slightly mindless drunk-rock.
Opening track ‘The Bump’ is a very standard blues-country stomp. Nothing offensive, but nothing that’s going particularly enthuse you. ‘We’re full grown men, and we act like kids’ drawls John McCauley. He’s right you know, there’s not much maturity going on here. As second track ‘Funny Word’ proves beyond all doubt, with its opening line of ‘you fucking douchebag’. The track itself is a sort of dumbass-David Bowie does Springsteen. In all fairness though, it’s unavoidably likeable.
Then it all goes tits up. ‘Let’s All Go To The Bar’ is dumb. I’ve got no issue with music that doesn’t require too much thought. The issue here though, is that Deer Tick just haven’t done it very well. It sounds like a detestable mix between The Vaccines’ ‘Wreckin’ Bar’ and middle-of-the-road country rock – shudder. All this being said, the album isn’t all that bad. Album highlight ‘Main Street’ is a wonderful cross of Manchester Orchestra vocals and The E-Street Band. It sounds far more considered than the rest of the album, and is an excellent slice of solid rock songwriting.
The rest of the album though doesn’t really warrant mention. Sparing possibly ‘Make Believe’ and ‘Now It’s Your Turn’. Both of which are decent alt-rock outings. ‘Now It’s Your Turn’ especially builds to a fuzzy crescendo, closer to ‘Walls’ than the rest of the album. Providing an irritating teaser of what you wish the whole album sounded like.
On the whole, it’s safe and unremarkable. McCauley demonstrated that he’s a competent songwriter who can, when he wants, pen a few gems. It’s this inconsistency and seemingly lax approach to producing a complete album that truly lets him down. Definitely not a record that deserves repeat listens.