BY JOHN B. MOORE
A pretty strong step away from their freewheeling last record (Divine Providence), Deer Tick’s fifth and latest offering is a tad darker and surprisingly personal compared to earlier efforts. The result is ultimately a stronger album, but it takes a little time to get to the good stuff.
The album for this Rhode Island band, led by John McCauley, was written during a particularly dark time for the frontman. His father went to prison for tax evasion and his fiancée called off the engagement – two pretty big blows to take back to back. And the mood is certainly reflected in the rather aptly titled Negativity.
Coming on at a dozen tracks, Negativity saves the best of the songs for the second half of the record. It’s not that the first set is particularly weak, it’s just that songs like the beautifully soulful “Trash” and the wistful duet (with Vanessa Carlton) “In Our Time” – two of the band’s best to date – stand out much more vividly. While pulling off a slightly more mature, darker collection than they have in the past, Deer Tick still manage to remain charmingly disheveled enough as to not loose what made the band appealing in the first place.
DOWNLOAD: “Trash,” “In Our Time” and “Hey Doll”