The Dream's In the Ditch
In Our Time (feat. Vanessa Carlton)
Pot of Gold
After breaking through with a sound reminiscent of Replacements-era rock ‘n’ roll (right down to the drunken chaos), Deer Tick returns with Negativity. This album is so refined that John J. McCauley sounds like a different man leading a different band—on every track. “Mirror Walls” kicks into a conservative AOR guitar-organ sound worthy of Jakob Dylan’s Wallflowers. “Just Friends” sits down at the piano for a touch of Jackson Browne, while “Hey Doll” uses the same piano for a run at The Band. “Mr. Sticks” brings out a vocal style eerily close to Tom Petty's. R&B horns strike up the soul showcase “Trash,” while “Thyme” mimics the spooky blues of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell on You.” Vanessa Carlton plays Tammy Wynette to McCauley’s truck-stop country singer on “In Our Time.” Lumbering hard rock blues (“Pot of Gold”) leads into the acoustic finale, “Big House.” With Negativity, Deer Tick achieves something truly unusual.