Deer Tick, the Providence, RI quartet, has released its first album since 2017. Emotional Contracts showcases a band at the peak of their songwriting and performing abilities, which isn’t surprising considering that they have been together for nearly 20 years.
Featuring singer/guitarist John McCauley, guitarist Ian O’Neil, bassist Christopher Ryan, and drummer Dennis Ryan, they have produced an album that is at the same time both gloriously retro, but still looking forward.
“Forgiving Ties” is an energetic, upbeat track that, despite its introspective lyrics, is a dance song. The layering of percussion at the beginning sets the rhythm, and the song takes off from there. The addition of a catchy trumpet riff and a memorable chorus make this song one that should see considerable radio play.
There are hints of zydeco music on “Disgrace” with the addition of the accordion, and a tinkling piano part interspersed throughout. I don’t know if this will be released as a single, but it caught my attention right away.
The accordion is also used on “Once In A Lifetime”. The band takes its time to develop the groove at the beginning, which, to be honest, is a breath of fresh air in an era where extended setups seem to be disappearing. Gorgeous harmonies in the background vocals complement the band perfectly. I can see this one being a popular fixture in their live sets.
The ten songs on the release all showcase different facets of the band, but the one consistent thread is that this is a very tight, well-rehearsed outfit. With Emotional Contracts, Deer Tick has released a fantastic album that hooks the listener from the first moment and doesn’t let go.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: DEER TICK – EMOTIONAL CONTRACTS