Deer Tick’s latest album, “Negativity,” comes all-inclusive with everything the band has to offer — satisfying sounds from keys, stable drums and an innate sense of maturity and lessons learned.
I’ve heard he’s boozy, but really, all I hear is dreamy. John McCauley, frontman and guitarist, has the anomalous voice that suits the indie-country outfit. Are you hurtin’, McCauley? It sure sounds like it, and it’s a handsome sound of suffering.
“Negativity” was released amidst McCauley’s personal crucible. His fiancee left him, his father was thrown in jail, and he was dealing with addiction from drugs and alcohol. Like any artist, he doesn’t just embrace his heartbreak, but consummates something beautiful. “Trash” (No. 7) is evidence of this.
“Just Friends” (No. 3) is an example of the maturity previously mentioned. It also puts the stereotype in the country sub-genre that the band fits into. “The Curtain” (No. 2), on the other hand, gives listeners such as myself what we’ve been craving: excitement and youth.
What’s great about this record in particular is that every song is very different. Of course, they all stem from the same native intelligence, but “Mirror Walls” (No. 5) is so drastically different from “Big House” (No. 12) that I wouldn’t want to play them at the same party. “Mirror Walls” is specifically made for long drives home through the desert. “Big House” I would listen to while working hard all day. It’s a “working” country song. The guest vocals by Vanessa Carlton make it seem very “Little House on the Prairie.”
The official music video for “The Dream’s in the Ditch” (No. 4) is featured on the band’s website, but I can say with absolute certainty that this song is not my favorite, nor is the video. The opening track, “The Rock,” is my favorite on the album.
Deer Tick’s “Negativity” isn’t bad for a first-time listen, and I will listen again and again. I’ll give it three stars.