John McCauley has this chameleon-like ability to inhabit any genre he dives into — whether folk, country, or straight-up rock & roll. On Deer Tick's fourth album, the singer and songwriter turns his band loose, bringing their live-show intensity to the studio and giving the album an amps-to-11 swagger and squall. From the opening sonic volley of "The Bump," Deer Tick careen through Divine Providence like Exile on Main St.-lovin' truckers on a Red Bull binge. "Funny Word" walks a wire between Wilco and the Stooges, and "Let's All Go to the Bar" imagines the Ramones as a rootsy Americana band. There are quiet moments too — the strum and lope of "Clownin' Around," the atmospheric hum of "Chevy Express" — but even they quiver with a sense of mayhem teetering on the edge of eruption. — Brian Baker
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