Album review: Deer Tick “Vol. 1 & 2”

by Jon E. Lynch

Deer Tick “Vol. 1 & 2”

Available: Friday Sept. 15, via Partisan Records as a digital download, compact disc and vinyl. Vinyl versions available, while supplies last, matching the album artwork. Specifically, Vol. 1 vinyl comes in Ketchup Red and Vol. 2 vinyl comes, appropriately, in Mustard Yellow. Vinyl bundles for both volumes are available directly from the label, but I suggest they be purchased from your local independent record store.

Nearly 10 years ago to the day of this writing, I reviewed the debut full-length (proper) from Providence, Rhode Island’s Deer Tick. I was absolutely floored by the record, questioningly surmising and heralding it then as “…one of the best records of 2007?” A decade on and that particular album, “War Elephant,” has more than held up against the test of time and scrutiny. There is a rugged duality in that debut record that appealed directly to my tastes and music sensibilities. John McCauley (lead vocals, guitar) grew up listening to and admiring and playing heavier music that fell in line with the punk rock ethos and DIY culture, and also became enamored with classic country, specifically that of Hank Williams. This, very broadly and roughly speaking, became the foundation of Deer Tick.

Over the course of the last decade, there have been a handful of singles and EPs, four more full-lengths, a couple few stellar adjacent musical projects (Middle Brother, Diamond Rugs) along with an expanding lineup of players, leading up to this month’s release of “Vol. 1 and Vol. 2,” the sixth and seventh full-lengths, respectively. The companion releases, each consisting of 10 tracks, are differentiated by their sonic approach. “Vol. 1” is the acoustic, Americana-leaning indie-folk that some consider “classic” Deer Tick, while “Vol. 2” delves into the band’s garage-punk influences often reflected in their blistering live shows. Deer Tick is a band that pulls off multiple styles and approaches seamlessly, and with “Vol. 1 & 2” put out to prove so.

Recommended for fans of Delta Spirit, Dawes, The Replacements, X, The Knitters, Blitzen Trapper, and/or The Felice Brothers.

— Jon E. Lynch[email protected]

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