It takes a bit of bravado to release two albums simultaneously. Most bands work hard to put 10 – 12 well-crafted songs together every few years. It is not uncommon to see “B-side” albums come out shortly after a release, but for the most part they are only collections of songs and not a cohesive body of work. Fortunately, Deer Tick has shown with their simultaneous releases that sometimes one album just won’t get the job done. Although it appears they ran out of creativity when it came time to name the albums, simply titled “Vol. 1” and “Vol. 2” respectively. However, both albums are solid and represent both sides of Deer Ticks split personality. Lead singer John McCauley has two facets to his songwriting. “Vol. 1” represents his more acoustic, mid-tempo Americana style. It is filled with songs that are introspective, with often biting perspective on relationships and the general ups and downs of life. “Vol. 2” represents a side that is in your face Garage Rock. The band’s love of the Replacements is shamelessly evident on these tracks. The songs are self-effacing and sarcastic bursts of pure energy. A reminder not to take yourself too seriously.
Both of these personifications have always been part of Deer Tick albums, but generally their albums generally lean in one or the other direction. With two albums, they can go completely in both directions. This means a double helping of superb song-writing. These recordings were done at the Ardent Studios in Memphis, and would make Alex Chilton proud. Traces of Big Star albums are clearly present. Both albums are full of solid songs that didn’t deserve to feel the editorial axe, or be given the “B-side” label. Check out the examples below:
About the author: Chip and his family live in Birmingham, AL. Roll Tide!