Friday, December 31, 2010

BORN ON FLAG DAY - Deer Tick (2009)

Providence, Rhode Island indie outfit Deer Tick's sophomore effort, my point of entry for the band, offers up late-night, ramshackle country-rock as familiar as a good drinking buddy and as easy to take in as your favorite domestic beer, poured straight from the tap.

It's all a very solid affair...well-played, well-written, very much in tune with it's place in the music world, and likable throughout...but would be wholly unremarkable were it not for one thing...leader singer John McCauley's craggy, whiskey-soaked ace of a voice. It elevates every track on this album a notch or two, simultaneously boosting both the folksiness and the rock n' roll edge, and one can't help but hear it and be instantly transported to whatever roadhouse dive McCauley's seems to be singing to us from at 3 a.m. on a Saturday night.

A few tracks stick out a hair above the others...album opener Easy has a simple but fantastic open, Straight Into The Storm is a strong Chuck Berry-styled number, and best song Smith Hill delivers the album's peak emotions with an excellent, anthemic chorus...but in the end, consistency and accessibility, not over-the-top quality, are the chief draws here.

Take a listen to any track, and you'll immediately grasp what you are getting.  If you like one track on Born On Flag Day, trust me, you'll probably like 'em all.

Status: Mild Recommend.

Cherry Picker's Best Bets: Easy, Smith Hill, Song About A Man, Straight Into The Storm.

Here's a live on-air performance of Easy for radio station KEXP.

Component Breakdown:
1. Easy - 8
3. Smith Hill - 9
8. The Ghost - 7
10. Stung - 7
11. Goodnight Irene - 7 (uncredited bonus track)
Intangibles - Average to High

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What are your thoughts on Deer Tick and Born On Flag Day? Let us know.

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