Deer Tick: Negativity

Deer Tick: Negativity

(Partisan, 9/24/13)

"The Rock"

Negativity, the fifth album from alt-country rockers Deer Tick, is named for its sense of self. The band has produced a record that basks in a whiskey-soaked darkness cast by a looming desert night.

The Providence band was experiencing a difficult time during the recording process, and this thematically colors the songs. Opening track “The Rock” is an ambiguous ballad, with violence and loving bliss intertwining, as picked reverb fades into howls from singer John McCauley. Elsewhere the band trades in Americana for tracks with more than a little early Springsteen in them, most notably “Just Friends.”

With an aesthetic that’s equal parts The Boss, indie rock, and old-school country, Deer Tick has found a perfect mix of saddle balladry and two-lane blacktop rock. It’s worth risking a little Lyme disease.