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AAA Music | 10 August 2020

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Deer Tick – Divine Providence

| On 01, Apr 2012

It’s always helpful when a band can state their raison d’etre in a song title. The Hives have We Rule The World (T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S), Hellyeah have gone one further and given all you need to know about them in their band name. Deer Tick have a song called Let’s All Go To The Bar, and if that gives you doubts about them, then turn and run because they sound exactly like you think they sound. This is boozy, gruff country rock about black hearted women, tough old men livin’ tough old lives and the redemptive power of a cold brew and a loud guitar riff. If that wasn’t enough the track Funny Words begins with a drawled “you fuckin’ douchebag”. Yes, this is an album where every note and word comes drenched in testosterone, but is it good? If you’re into it, there’s nothing better, as I said before however, if the idea of a band that has a song called Let’s All Go To The Bar and plays it completely straight makes you wince then this record wasn’t made for you. Everyone else will have a whale of a time though!

To be quite honest there isn’t much more to say about this album. Coming on like a rawer, louder Creedence Clearwater Revival, the songs are divided into half of them being heavily distorted, early rock n roll rave ups and the other half being the staunchly unfashionable side of country, earnest acoustic guitar strums and simple, mournful harmonies that make the people playing them sound like the kind of people kick Mumford And Sons out of their saloon for being pansies. It does what it does very well, when it’s good, like on the riotous knees up The Bump, or the slightly more restrained, melodious country-pop of Main Street it’s ridiculously exciting, when it’s not so hot, like on the dawdling Clownin’ Around or the moronic Let’s All Go To The Bar (again, not a shred of irony or metaphor here) it’s cringe inducing. Not because they’re trying to be something they’re not, for quite the opposite reason in fact, elsewhere on the record you can find glimpses of what could be if they set their sights a little higher, like the genuine subtlety on Chevy Express. So it’s rather annoying when they retreat into their comfortable country rock tropes when they could go quite a lot further.

So does this album achieve what it’s set out to achieve? Yes. Will it entertain people into that? Yes. Should anyone else enquire? No. One will find out whether they will loathe or cherish record very, very soon into listening to it. If that was Deer Ticks intention from the start then fair play to them, and to say they do what they do well is most definitely a compliment, but it’s highly unlikely to win any new converts to their cause. It doesn’t sound like it’ll be a problem to them however, they seem to be pleased as punch playing, drinking or doing both at the same time. It keeps them off the streets, eh?

Will Howard