Rocking and Rollicking
Divine Providence, the fourth studio album from Rhode Islanders Deer Tick, is a raunchy, exuberant romp full of youthful energy and country-blues-inspired riffs. After starting as guitarist and singer-songwriter John McCauley’s solo project back in 2004, the full band released its debut in 2007. In their eighth year, Deer Tick still sound as wild-spirited as ever.
There’s the Ramones-esque “Let’s All Go to the Bar” and “Something to Brag About,” happy-go-lucky if not facetious songs with charging drums, rousing group vocals, and rocking guitar solos. But Deer Tick take on a rather different mood with “Clownin’ Around,” an acoustic country song alluding to growing older and the devils of adulthood, mature in both its lyricism and composition. The quiet, meditative “Electric” falls in this vein as well, based off soft, strummed chords and McCauley’s voice.
The band’s blues and country influences bubble up in Divine Providence‘s opening track, “The Bump,” through McCauley’s gravelly shouts and bluesy piano trills. With a bridge full of whistling and stomping percussion, it’s vigorous and spirited, rock that’s at once modern and nodding its hat towards decades past. “Walkin Out the Door” brings back the pop-ballad sound of the ’60s with bright synth lines and bittersweet vocal melodies, while “Make Believe” is reminiscent of ’70s rock, sounding something like The Police with a contemporary twist.
Perhaps the album’s biggest flaw is its lack of direction. While all of the tracks are enjoyable and their diversity shows off the band’s eclectic style and influences, they could use a stronger sense of thematic unity. But maybe that’s not what Divine Providence is all about, not taking itself too seriously—maybe Deer Tick are just clowning around.