Although Deer Tick are the kind of band that you know won’t ever surprise you, at the same time it’s hard not to give them credit for sticking to what they know and what they’re good at. Their small musical territory begins at country-folk and ends all the way over at blues-rock. On Divine Providence they choose to get as rough and shallow as possible, what some may define as “walking backwards”. From that perspective, the goal is reached as this third album has its share of drunk-buddies sing-along, energetic straight-up blues-rock and it shares an overall ‘don’t give a fuck’ feeling that’s pretty entertaining if you’re not looking for anything more substantial. When vocalist John McCauley lets it all hang out and roars like the last man around the bar on staggering opener ‘The Bump’, punk-rock drinking anthem ‘Let’s All Go To The Bar’, or good ol’ boogie ‘Something To Brag About’, you know words don’t matter as much as the effectiveness of this party soundtrack. In the middle of all the fury, a few pop ballads like ‘Chevy Express’ and the heart-felt ‘Electric’ bring some fresh air.
Though they stay heavily influenced by American roots music (muddy guitars, stomping drums and a saloon piano), Deer Tick are no longer following the path of folk-rock keepers Hold Steady and Bright Eyes like they did on their previous album The Black Dirty Sessions. They may have taken the easy way by leaving depth and emotional subtlety aside, but the brainless night bar rock n’ roll they’re playing on Divine Providence is not something to be ashamed of. When your working day is done and you’re crawling to the nearest pub to play pool with your friends or watch the game on TV, Deer Tick’s fierce and loud garage songs about girls, booze and fighting are all you need.