Deer Tick: John McCauley (vocals, guitar, harmonica, electric piano); Andrew Tobiassen (guitar); Chris Ryan (bass instrument, bass guitar); Dennis Ryan (drums, background vocals).
Personnel: Dennis Michael Ryan (vocals, drums, percussion); Liz Isenberg (vocals); Andrew Grant Tobiassen (guitar).
Recording information: Yellow House Studios, Baltimore, MD (09/2008).
Photographer: Sayard Egan.
Unknown Contributor Role: John McCauley.
More focused than its predecessor, WAR ELEPHANT, Deer Tick's BORN ON FLAG DAY is comprised of ten songs in the straight-up stylings of indie rock and Americana. Vocalist John Joseph McCauley III's singing is still raspy (like a down-home version of Axl Rose) but here, he and his crew flesh out their woodsy sensibilities with a larger scope. The sound is bigger, and the hooks are more palpable. By sacrificing grit, some of the charm that made the debut a success is lost along the way, but the sleeker production is only a minor setback. Even with a heavy helping of spiteful, desperate lyrics delivered straight from the bottom of the bottle, the sparkling production makes Deer Tick seem like a likely crossover to the mainstream, specifically those who love a more mature, NPR sound.
Rolling Stone (p.74) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he dysfunctional-love duet 'Friday XIII' and a boozy version of the singalong suicide threat 'Goodnight, Irene' suggest that well-composed misery still loves company."
Spin (p.88) - "[They are] deft revivalists of 'country' in all its forms....Their second album delivers doses of pop buoyancy..."
CMJ - "Their raw sound seamlessly meshes a Johnny Cash version of country-blues with Deer Tick's own Northeastern-bred style of folksy rock 'n' roll."
Q (Magazine) (p.122) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "His alt-country songs bristle with classic influences..."
Uncut (magazine) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "The thrust of the songs suggests McCauley is a time-honored confessor, bleary beyond his years, the world fixed through the bottom of an empty glass."