Rhode Island’s Deer Tick decided to go big on their latest release and man did it pay off. After a four years absence, the indie band is back with two phenomenal albums, boasting two completely different sounds, quiet and reflective (Vol. 1) and loud and rowdy (Vol. 2).
“Vol. 1” begins with the sweet, Dylan-esque “Sea of Clouds,” a serene vibe that holds up through all 10 tracks. Even on more up-tempo songs, like the piano waltz-inspired drinking song “Cocktail,” or the Latin-tinged “Card House,” the band still manages to keep a peaceful rein on things.
“Vol. 2” draws on more of their punk and rock influences, for a much more raucous experience. The chugging guitars on “Look How Clean I Am,” the liberal use of effects pedals and raunchy organ slathered throughout make for one of the band’s tightest, most exciting records in years. Racing through a song like “It’s a Whale” (just under two-and-a-half-minutes) or “Tiny Fortunes,” the band creates an immediacy with all of the songs here. The highlight, on a record of great songs, is the album closer “Mr. Nothing Gets Worse,” a song that would sit perfectly on The Replacement’s “Let it Be” album.
The band has always shown these two, seemingly incongruous sides on their albums, which is part of the appeal of the band. But it’s a bold move to silo the different moods into two separate records and the result just goes to highlight how remarkably talented and fun the band can still be, more than a decade into their career.