Deer Tick: Tim
Y’all know about Rhode Island’s favorite sons Deer Tick by now. Their music’s been described as everything from folk to alt-country to blues, but the truth of the matter is they play good old fashioned rock and roll. Their latest EP Tim, would be a revelation if it came from any other band, but the genre bending, hopeless and hungry, violent explosions of beauty on Tim’s five tracks are really just kind of the norm for Deer Tick.
“Born at Zero, (Dead at Twenty-Three)” opens the door to this recording much in the vein of T. Rex’s “All the Young Dudes,” with its undertones of early twenties blues and doomed nihilism played out over fuzz guitar melodies and an organ rhythm throw-back to the more heady days of rock’s history. It’s a love song really, and somewhat touching because behind the strained, wracked vocals one can detect the slightest glimmer of hope.
Of course this glimmer is fully extinguished on the following track, “When it All Falls Down.” Deer Tick’s gonna bring you down, but isn’t that why we listen in the first place? Don’t immediately rush out for a death head’s tattoo and a copy of anything Kierkegaard though. We’re coming up on one of frontman/song writer John McCauley’s favorite subjects: evil women.
They might be yanks, but damn if Deer Tick couldn’t pass for deep south garage revivalists. The guitar drips in sexy minor keys, and as with the previous tracks there’s a floating organ rhythm just behind it all, surfacing between the hard luck love life lyrics of “Virginia Gal.” I can’t decide if I wanna dance to this track or else oil my pistol muttering obscenity laced condemnations of the women I used to know.
And then the strangest, most delightful thing happens. Keep that organ but remove guitar, drum, and bass from the equation and add an orchestra! “She’s Not Spanish” is everything Deer Tick is not. It’s a sophisticated rock opera dirge that seems more appropriate for Madam Butterfly than Tim.
Finally, as if we couldn’t be served a more appropriate come down, the EP is finished off with the acoustic, “Main Street.” I really feel it’s an unnecessary track. I’m not saying it’s not enjoyable, but after the weight of “She’s Not Spanish,” it seems somewhat trifling.
En somme, them boys in Deer Tick could have added a few more songs and put out a really solid album. Or, they could have dropped “Main Street” and an earlier track on the EP and really consolidated the emotionally impact. Either way, Tim is a lot better than most of the full length albums I’ve listened to this year. And you might wonder why I don’t give it a better score, but please keep in mind that for Deer Tick to be any more impressive their next release would have to literally give me an orgasm. And I don’t think it’s outside their ability.
Download: Deer Tick “She’s Not Spanish”
Deer Tick: Tim