Deer Tick: 2023

Deer Tick (photo by FUV Staff)
by Eric Holland | 08/30/2023 | 6:46am

Deer Tick (photo by FUV Staff)

FUV's longtime pals Deer Tick celebrated the release of their new album, Emotional Contracts, with a visit to our Bronx studios in June.

We also had an early celebration of the birthday of John McCauley who, as referenced in the title of the second Deer Tick album, was born on June 14, Flag Day. Unlike the band's last visit to WFUV in 2018, we had the full complement of members on hand: guitarist/vocalist John McCauley, guitarist/vocalist Ian O’Neil, bassist Christopher Ryan, drummer Dennis Ryan, and touring member Robert Ellis on piano. (Ellis visited FUV in 2018 with his band Traveller, with Jonny Fritz and Cory Chisel.)

Deer Tick was loose and having a few laughs while warming up and they tore through three songs, slowed down only by the momentary pause of a broken guitar string. As John and Dennis shared in our conversation, Deer Tick are based in Providence again — they all live close to each other and not far from McCauley's studio, where the new songs were born.

The album was recorded in freewheeling sessions at producer Dave Fridmann’s Tarbox Road Studios, between Jamestown and Buffalo. “Forgiving Ties” is one of the two songs on the new album featuring O’Neil on lead vocals. (The other is “A Light Can Go Out in the Heart.”)

“Once in a Lifetime” boasts a spiffy bassline and epitomizes the group’s collective spirit of being engaged in the current moment with respect for the fragility and unpredictability of circumstances. “If I Try to Leave” was road-tested at a White Eagle Hall show last December and is already established as a satisfying crowd-pleaser with McCauley and O'Neil trading licks. 

[Recorded: 6/12/23; Engineered by Jim O'Hara, produced by Meghan Offtermatt]

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