When: Fri., Sept. 22, 8 p.m. 2017
Sooner or later, if a band sticks around for long enough, it'll venture far enough from its initial sound to be able to follow that divergence with a "return to their roots." Just about every group worth its salt has been through that progression at some point, and now it looks like it's Deer Tick's turn with the arrival of two new albums, helpfully titled Deer Tick Vol. 1 and Deer Tick Vol. 2.
Those who have been following the Deer Tick tale from the beginning (or at least took the time to catch up with what they missed) will recall that when Providence, Rhode Island's favorite sons first popped up a decade ago, they were a sonically scrappy crew. The group's mix of raw-boned, punk-informed rock 'n' roll and acoustic, folk-flecked Americana never laid down any particular lines of demarcation between the rocking and the rootsiness. Deer Tick simply let it all melt together into something that ultimately became its signature sound.
But by the time Deer Tick got around to recording its fifth album, 2013's Negativity, the band was ready to try something a little different. So it enlisted producer Steve Berlin (a longtime Los Lobos member) to take its sound someplace else. Berlin took a hands-on approach, restructuring most of the songs the band brought in and lending a new degree of sonic sheen to the Deer Tick approach, even though one could scarcely call the resulting record slick.
Four years on, Deer Tick has seemingly decided that it likes things to be a bit messier. It's also apparently had enough songs for a double album, but instead of going the traditional double-LP route, the band decided to release two separate new albums. And for the first time, the band has indulged in a little bit of stylistic segregation. Deer Tick Vol. 1 is an acoustic-based affair that sticks to the folk-rock and alt-country side of the ensemble's musical personality, and Vol. 2 is where the band gets its rocks off, literally, getting into a real Replacements-a-go-go. Of course, seeing Deer Tick on its current tour, you're more likely to encounter its traditional mish-mash of back-porch sounds and gritty, greasy rockers. But hell, that's the whole point of that "return to their roots" thing anyway, right? —Jim Allen