Gig Preview: Deer Tick – Deaf Institute, Manchester – 01/02/18

Last September, Rhode Island quartet Deer Tick released a new record for the first time in over four years – but it’s fair to say that it wasn’t just any old record. In fact, it wasn’t one record at all.

There’s always been a polarity to the Deer Tick approach, almost a split-personality to their musical ethos. Perhaps initially regarded as an exponent of the folk-inspired roots Americana explosion that began to swell during the noughties, later releases demonstrated a more rambunctious bar room swagger; just check out the booze soaked brilliance of the opening three tracks of 2011’s Divine Providence as a case in point. So when Deer Tick Vol:1 and Deer Tick Vol: 2 was announced at the end of the summer we all wondered what road the band would have travelled down this time. 

To be honest, we should have been able to make an educated guess; the double release takes all the highroads and byroads of American music, allowing John McCauley and co to exploit the best aspects of the band’s fascinating dichotomy. Volume 1 unveils a return to a more introspective, acoustic approach, allowing the listener to really contemplate McCauley‘s satisfyingly nasal storytelling which documents inner struggles and external conflicts with a perfect balance of heartfelt sincerity and wry wit. Opening track “Sea of Clouds” encompasses all of what brought so many fans to Deer Tick in the first place – and also what kept them there.

Volume Two is not immediately divergent from it’s sibling, other than possibly an increase in the, well, volume. There still seems to be a confessional approach to McCauley‘s songwriting on opener ‘Don’t Hurt’, and the bluster of Divine Providence has evolved into a more Springsteen-esque approach evidenced by ‘Jumpstarting’. 

Stevie Nicks described the songwriter perfectly when she said that “John McCauley is a little bit Tom Petty, a little bit Johnny Cash and a little bit spectacular.” Indeed, there’s still an attitude that simmers though Volume 2 – and tracks like ‘It’s A Whale’ are a clear example that the band still enjoy the raucous bravado of their youth. You can almost imagine final track ‘Mr. Nothing Gets Worse’ being performed behind the chicken wire of Bob’s Country Bunker as the beer bottles are let fly!

Riding a wave of support from media and fans on both sides of the Atlantic, Deer Tick can now announce that theyll bring their exhilarating live show back to the UK in January and February, playing at Celtic Connections in Glasgow, as well as what’ll be a huge headline set at Londons Islington Assembly Hall.


20/01 GLASGOW Celtic Connections @ O2 ABC
30/01 LONDON Islington Assembly Hall
31/01 BRISTOL The Fleece
01/02 MANCHESTER Deaf Institute
02/02 LEEDS Brudenell Social Club