By Crystal Murphy
For better or for worse, Deer Tick’s Divine Providence (Partisan Records) documents the life of having been at it for some time.
The Deer Tick men let you know what this album about right from the start: “We’re full grown men; we act like kids.” And the shouting background choral affirms: the frat party lives on.
Deer Tick has hitherto been known more for their alt-country/folk storytelling, but this record takes a decisive turn for the punk edge. A bro-ish segue to the second track, “You fuckin’ douchebag,” tells you they don’t intend to polish a courteous veneer.
Anyone enmeshed with successful bands has a love—hate relationship with the lifestyle. And the lifestyle, cliché as it is to write out, tends to encompass more than writer’s block and feverish recording sessions.
After the introductory tomfoolery comes reflection, but only for a moment. You can visualize the track being born on some stretch of Nebraska highway in “Clownin Around,” perhaps after a heated phone call with a lover back home. A what-exactly-goes-on-at-the-bar phone call seems to channel their sweeter tracks of yore.
Alas, the remaining songs switch swiftly back to the Clash basslines and such. Therein antipathy reigns: “I don’t care if I’m the one to blame, let’s all go to the bar.”
Those who have loved a musician have berated their butthead myopia. Here, we do not see a figurative tragic romance fall by the wayside. What’s interesting is that those relationships aren’t exploited for lyrics. Deep things are hardly mentioned. Maybe that would be the cliché move.
Though jaded by the lover-gone-musician this record caricatures, and though I’d rather sway to twangy prose, I’ve got to admit, I really looked forward to dancing away the irony at The Echo on November 1st. Despite its lack of profundity, Divine Providence is catchy as shit.
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