A.V. Club Most Read

News Newswire Great Job, Internet!
TV Club All Reviews What's On Tonight
Video All Video A.V. Undercover A.V. Cocktail Club Film Club
Reviews All Reviews Film TV Music Books
Features All Features TV Club Newswire
Sections Film Tv Music Food Comedy Books Games Aux
Our Company About Us Contact Advertise Privacy Policy Careers RSS
Onion Inc. Sites The Onion The A.V. Club ClickHole Onion Studios

Deer Tick: Born On Flag Day

 

B-

Deer Tick

Album: Born On Flag Day
Label: Partisan Records

Community Grade (3 Users)

  • A
  • A-
  • B+
  • B
  • B-
  • C+
  • C
  • C-
  • D+
  • D
  • D-
  • F

Your Grade

?

Born On Flag Day, Deer Tick’s second album, sounds like the result of a years-long study session in electric folk, classic country, and weepy balladry, undertaken with a reverence that borders on the oppressive. As with War Elephant, the Providence, Rhode Island-based band’s debut, Born On Flag Day hinges on John McCauley’s voice, a gravelly marvel that splits the difference between Bob Dylan and John Prine. Unlike War Elephant, which resembled an indie band’s stab at country, Born On Flag Day suggests a headlong dive into the canon, with little irony and varying results. Back-to-back rockabilly tracks “Straight Into A Storm” and “Friday XIII” show a real command of the form, with plenty of truckstop trills and sneaky solos. The spare tracks fare worse: “Song About A Man,” a guitar-and-voice number with a harmonica interlude and Dylan-dusted lyrics, just sounds derivative. There’s one song, however, that manages a surprise. “Smith Hill” is a Trojan horse of a tearjerker, complete with cheeseball violins and a chorus about the elusive nature of love. And yet it builds to a tremendous, unexpected catharsis, all soaring vocals and washes of distortion. For a moment, it even sounds unique.