Oddly, it's the least-ambitious material that works the best. Bawlers like "Song About a Man" (written from the perspective of a grandfather who "drank away all the things he could provide," with effective parts for cello and harmonica) and mid-tempo ballads like "The Ghost" and closer "Stung" sound simple and effortless, but are notably fleshed-out compared to similar War Elephant work.
You're left hoping McCauley gets his heart ripped out or finds a little more fire in his belly before the next Deer Tick album, but certain his band will be up to the task of being the bloody knuckles to his sucker punches.
Christopher Gray can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DEER TICK |with Dawes + Dead End Armory | July 21 @ 9 pm | SPACE Gallery, 538 Congress St, Portland | $7 | 207.828.5600 | space538.org
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