“All I wanted was a clean break / But ended up here in a mess,” John McCauley sings on the last song off Deer Tick’s new album, Emotional Contracts, their first album in years and their first with ATO Records. Produced by Dave Fridmann, who’s worked with the likes of Flaming Lips and Spoon, it scratches that rock n’ roll itch, while speaking intelligently into the relational pitfalls and satisfying climaxes we have when we follow our hearts.
The lead single off the record, “Forgiving Ties,” deals with the social contracts that we sometimes feel, but flips it on its head. “I’m not looking for forgiving ties / I’m just looking for a way to survive.” With its cowbell intro that sounds like something out of a funky Parquet Courts song, it is a rollicking tune, to help people not feel beholden to others.
They are trying their best to follow their dreams in a world of complicated relationships. Like McCauley sings on the song, “If She Could Only See Me Now,” “Now that I’ve finally been set free / She’d know exactly what she means to me.” Or like D. Ryan sings on the next song, “I keep on running / Running from love.” They switch writers and singers regularly on the album, but the themes of social angst and the fight for love all meld well together, and the production is top notch.
The album is ten songs, with a lot of variation, while remaining a cohesive album, songs that they will be playing on tour, opening for Jason Isbell in the months of June and July. Like Spoon, they are all soulful, resonant songs. Like Flaming Lips, they tend to capture the perfect catchy melody, time and again. It must have been a fun record for Fridmann to produce and I think it’s a solid offering that will satisfy old fans and win them new ones along the way.
Pre-order Emotional Contracts by Deer Tick HERE
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