Deer Tick – Divine Providence (Music Review)

Divine Providence cover

Deer Tick – Divine Providence

Divine Providence demonstrates that Deer Tick is a one-trick band, but it’s an excellent trick: Boisterous cock rock sung with a sloppy abandon. The stripped-down music perfectly emulates a lush arena rock band that’s too drunk for the subtleties they’d normally employ, and the lyrics have just enough of a self-conscious wink to win over people who might normally be put off by the frat boy personas. Despite that, it’s best appreciated without any irony. (The liner notes open with “You should play this fucker as loud as possible”, and that’s maybe a more accurate description than this entire review.)

The problem, though, is that they don’t fully appreciate that they should stay within the bounds of that one trick. Half the songs are slower, and, frankly, uninteresting. They actually aren’t bad, with solid hooks and a good variety, but songs that are merely tolerable become harder to wait out when the album is supposed to be a non-stop adrenaline rush. One or two might make an interesting break from the full-throated energy: “Chevy Express” has a bored tension that brings to mind an unsatisfying day waiting for the party to start, and “Now It’s Your Turn” has the weariness of the next morning’s hangover. But with a few more songs like them thrown into the mix, the album just feels watered down.

Deer Tick is excellent when they put their mind to it. You’ll be hard-pressed to find better anthems to the id than “Let’s All Go To The Bar” or “Something To Brag About”, but you’ll have to wade through a lot of filler to get to them. Fortunately, it’s easy to keep returning to those best few songs. I know I’ll be doing that a lot in the future, and honestly, that means more than my complaints about the skippable songs. But as an album, it’s hard to escape the feeling that this was a missed opportunity.

Grade: B

 
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