A departure from their previous releases, Rhode Island-based band Deer Tick decided to record an album that showcased their live show. As a result, distorted guitars, come-hither vocals, and memorable percussion embody their fourth LP, Divine Providence. While the majority of the album brings to mind a rock club’s beer soaked dance floor while fans scream along word for word, Deer Tick also manages to reveal their serious side throughout heartfelt ballads.
Unlike earlier recordings, guitarist Ian O’ Neil and drummer Dennis Ryan share lead vocals with frontman John McCauley. Never knowing what to expect, their fourth release offers loud, unapologetic rock ‘n’ roll. Additionally, Divine Providence easily transports the listener to Deer Tick’s energetic live show and keeps him/her enthralled all night long.
With ear-grabbing instrumentals before McCauley’s raspy vocals enter, Deer Tick seize the listener right away on first track “The Bump.” McCauley’s guttural growl is accompanied by heart pounding percussion, jazzy piano parts and captivating whistles. All the while, a heavy bass beat is at the forefront of the track while screams can be heard in the background. Grungy garage rock at its best, Deer Tick garners attention on Divine Providence.
“Funny Word” follows suit with raw vocals, wavering guitar riffs and soaring saxophone features. With distinct rock ‘n’ roll tendencies that bring to mind The Kinks, its hard not to tap one’s foot along during the fast-paced track. Next song, “Let’s All Go to the Bar” keeps up the energy and live feel of the LP with sing along choruses and distorted guitar parts. If this song is any indication of Deer Tick’s live show, concertgoers are sure to have a rollicking, drunkenly good time.
While the majority of Divine Providence demonstrates Deer Tick’s fun side, softer ballad “Clownin Around” differentiates them from the crowd. With finger-picked guitar rhythms, the band’s Americana and country roots are showcased here. On this song, steady percussion and memorable tambourines blend impeccably with spot-on harmonies. With striking resemblance to Dawes, it comes as no surprise that the band’s frontman Taylor Goldsmith and Deer Tick’s McCauley have joined forces on another project, Middle Brother.
“Main Street” continues with slowed percussion and biting lyrics. Alongside haunting keyboard interludes, more rustic vocals flow seamlessly within the melancholy music. “Chevy Express” begins with a measured guitar introduction followed by more serious vocals, further demonstrating the band’s ability to try something new. As a result, the gritty “Something to Brag About” switches gears with fast paced music and a distinct 50s rock ‘n’ roll vibe. While powerhouse guitar licks impress, the track embodies an intriguing mix of rock and punk tendencies with a Springsteen-esque growl.
The familiar “Walkin Out the Door” brings to mind the Beatles at the song’s start with striking keyboard and guitar parts alongside memorable harmonies while slow strokes of the piano kick off “Now It’s Your Turn.” An emotional number, ascending guitar parts and heartfelt vocals embody the track.
Divine Providence quickly segues from the heavy, rock-centric numbers to reveal poignant tales of heartache and loss, once again demonstrating the band’s ability to step out of their comfort zone. The epic rise and fall of the album track list seems to aptly transition to their live performance, making for a truly entrancing set.
“Electric” begins with light keyboard, haunting vocals and superb string features before “Miss K.” closes the album. With fast paced guitar strumming and vocals that recall Neil Young, Deer Tick end Divine Providence on a high note. Twelve versatile tracks embody the LP and aptly showcase the quintet’s prowess. One can only wonder what their next release will bring.