Deer Tick tips folk scales

by Courtney Rogin

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Remember that one time at the bar, when those guys had a little too much whiskey and started playing around with the piano in the corner? Well, they may have become Deer Tick, and those songs are what make up the fun-filled new album, “Divine Providence.” It is the band’s fourth album, and the most intrepid and ambitious of them all.

Deer Tick’s last album, “The Black Dirt Sessions,” was a slow-paced and intense folk gem, with the timeless song, “Piece By Piece and Frame By Frame” standing out as the centerpiece for the album. “Divine Providence” could be construed as the drunk, Southern older brother to the band’s other albums.

The band is the brainchild of guitarist and vocalist John McCauley, who took time between albums to play as part of Middle Brother, a folk-rock supergroup. Middle Brother features McCauley alongside members from Delta Spirit and Dawes. “Divine Providence” includes influences from McCauley’s time spent in Middle Brother, bringing in a definite grittier and faster overall tone to the album.

“Divine Providence” opened with the rousing song, “The Bump” and sets a homegrown feel-good tone to the album. The album stumbles into the next few songs, one of the highlights being “Let’s All Go To The Bar.” The track is a rowdy rock song incorporating loud and proud punk rock guitar riffs that can shake up some bar stools in the process. It really showcases the underlying punk rock vibe to the album, yet still brings home Southern folk roots, a strange combination that works impressively well. Deer Tick’s emotionally intense ballads take on new form with “Now It’s Your Turn,” the frontrunner of the album featuring a country ballad-turned-electric guitar melody.

Deer Tick is on the way up; this album really brings the band to a new level. It’s a perfect example of the changing folk-rock world and the influences innovating the genre. The band has earned notice, especially with a performance of “Main Street” on “Late Show with David Letterman” earlier this month. “Divine Providence” was released on Partisan Records on Tuesday. It is rocking San Diego on Monday at The Casbah. Guards, The Kabbs and Low Volts will be appearing as well. Tickets are $15.

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