2010-06-26Out of Providence, RI is Deer Tick with their third full-length release. Led by guitarist John McCauley and his distinctly grungy voice, the sound of Deer Tick is a mixture of folk, blues, country, and even some grunge as well. Showing this diversity, McCauley claims the wide range of influence of artists from the likes of Tom Petty to Sammy Davis, Jr. On this release, slow-tempo ballads are aplenty. For instance, on the opener, "Choir of Angels," the listener hears a mellow, interesting and introspective tune wrapped all in one. Another ballad worth checking out is the song "The Sad Sun." Here, McCauley shares the vocals with a female voice that adds an element to the song that works quite well. Things pick up a bit on the first single off the album - "Twenty Miles" - a song that sounds a little like early R.E.M. Here McCauley sings: "If you're running away, I'm looking for you. And if you've lost your way, I'm seeing you through." Things continue to heat up on the less likable but heavy and grunge tinged "Mange." While much of the album meanders along, the album ends on a high note with yet another ballad, the simple and yet sound, "Christ Jesus." Unlike a tick that proves hard to remove, many listeners of The Black Dirt Sessions will have no trouble removing this one from their CD players. While some songs are worthy of time and attention, sadly much here is mediocre at best and may prove too tough for many to plow through. ~Reviewed by Jeff Bouma
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