Deer Tick frustrated, and freed, on road to everywhere

It sounds like a hangover record, brought on not by too much booze (though certainly there was plenty of that) but by an overindulgence of life in the music business.

“Negativity,” the tellingly titled most recent album from Rhode Island indie rockers Deer Tick, sees the band channeling its disillusionment with living on the road, the monotony of being in a touring band and all the fractured relationships left in its wake, into alternately sweet and sad songs that turn all this frustration on its head.

“So they paid you to scream / But it buried your dreams,” frontman John McCauley sings on the chiming “The Dream’s in the Ditch.” “Is this it?” he asks at song’s end, knowing the answer. “This is it.”

That “Negativity” follows the band’s most raucous, revelrous album, the beer-soaked “Divine Providence,” only calls further attention to the shift in mood.

Still, these dudes aren’t giving any ground just yet.

“Where’s all the romance that I used to know?” McCauley asks on horn-peppered R&B waltz “Trash.” “I wanna fall in love again with the open road.”

And with that, Deer Tick is back in the van.

Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at or 702-383-0476. Follow on Twitter @JasonBracelin.