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Review: Deer Tick aims for ragged glory on new LP

By Chris Talbott
AP Entertainment Writer / October 31, 2011

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Deer Tick, "Divine Providence" (Partisan)

And now for something completely different: Deer Tick's new album.

"Divine Providence" is a party wagon with the wheels coming off, a rollicking burst of hijinks that should come complete with grainy black-and-white footage of double-time drunken antics.

The lusty leer of opener "The Bump" foreshadows an album that mimics the Rhode Island quartet's rollicking live show. It's carefree and rambles a bit, with blasts of drunken chatter and sounds that are clearly here just because they were fun to make. By the time we get to The Ramones-like bop of "Let's All Go to the Bar," we're in the car cruising right along with John McCauley and Co.

McCauley and his delightfully raspy voice were the centerpiece of Deer Tick's last album, "The Black Dirt Sessions." The album, one of the best of 2010, even featured McCauley's profile on the cover. He's at it again here, pushing the party forward on "Something to Brag About" and "Miss K.," and supplying a few stunning weepers like the slowly unfurling "Electric" and "Chevy Express." This time, though, band mates contribute songs and lead vocals and the ideas never seem to stop because of it.

CHECK THIS TRACK OUT: McCauley gets all the ink. Let's give drummer Dennis Ryan a little love and single out his contribution "Clownin' Around." It's full of great images -- "the devil is livin' in my basement" and "I keep my secrets with a knife" -- and his mournful lead vocal spirals right into the flames.