By Rob Duguay
In the next millennium when history books are written about this crazy time in human history, Deer Tick will go down as one of a group of bands that made genuine rock & roll relevant during a time where uneducated and ignorant hip-hop, annoyingly catchy pop music and douchebag bro-rock invaded radio airwaves and television screens across America. When futuristic humans turn the page to how Providence's favorite sons managed to blow up stages and light up skies all across the world, they will read about people shouting to classics like "Ashamed" and jumping like a pogo stick to anthems like "Easy". Today a new chapter in Deer Tick's acclaimed story unfolds with Negativity, the band's new album that at times is dark and spooky, triumphant and emphatic as well as being hard hitting and honest. Flat out, if you can't relate to a single track off of Negativity you're either an asshole or someone who hasn't had the misfortune of experiencing true reality.
Negativity is an album with the majority of the tracks coming straight from John McCauley's self-reflective look at his life over the past few years. Broken hearts, personal troubles and the lifestyle of a famous rock & roll musician along with being the central focus of a successful band all resonate through McCauley's songwriting on the album. Sure there are a few heartfelt ballads, but Negativity is far from being chock full of sad bastard songs. There's a sense of overcoming and perseverance, giving you the feeling of breaking the chains that bind you and rising above what keeps you down. It's a very inspirational album that fills you with a rush right when you press play, the incredible horn section doesn't hurt either. Don't worry, there are also a couple good ol' rocking numbers that show the band has never lost their roots. I've heard people tell me that the new Deer Tick songs have lost their grit and edge, a statement I completely disagree with. If anything, Negativity shows Deer Tick as real and to the point as ever with each track soulfully spilling out like blood on canvas.
Another week, another album. Welcome to my journalistic life where I write about what I like, which some people just don't get. These special individuals will ask, "Why don't you just trash a band Rob?". Other than replying with "Why don't you just go f**k yourself?", I'll say that I write this blog to show people what's good and hopefully I can expose them to music that has a positive effect on their life. That being said, here comes my top tracks off of my Album Of The Week. Is Negativity as good as Divine Providence? (Which I picked to be the Best Album Of 2011) Wait until December to find out. Negativity is a fantastic album so it's difficult to select a few, but here goes something:
Dennis Ryan's drum beats on "Mirror Walls" are infectious and the clash between the acoustic and electric guitars of McCauley and Ian O'Neil are pristine. The jazzy grooves on "Trash" sound as if McCauley is channeling his inner Sinatra, those horns have that big band aesthetic that make you want to put on a zoot suit and find someone to love. Nastiness on all chords and rhythms are abundant on "Pot Of Gold", imagine if Kurt Cobain started listening to ZZ Top instead of The Sex Pistols and this is what you'd get. The poppiest track off of the album is "The Dream's In The Ditch" with O'Neil taking the lead on vocals, that realness I've talked about shines through O'Neil singing about America's struggling youth. "The Rock" is a pure rager, if you've ever had a failed relationship that at one time had so much promise then this song should hit you like a ton of bricks. So I named off nearly half of Negativity, doesn't mean you shouldn't listen to the other half. Every track deserves a listen and your undivided attention because I said so.
Deer Tick just threw their kickass festival Dudesmash at The Met in Pawtucket, RI a week and a half ago on September 14th and you should be sure that they'll be coming back to Rhode Island again sooner than later. For fans on the other side of the pond in Europe, Deer Tick will be performing at The Borderline in London on October 1st, Botanique in Sint Joost Ten Node, Belgium on October 2nd, Paradiso in Amsterdam on October 3rd and The Comet Club in Berlin on October 4th. Until Deer Tick rocks your neighborhood music venue into smithereens, get your hands on their new album Negativity. Regardless of the title, it promises a positively awesome experience.