ACL Music Fest Saturday Reviews

ACL Music Fest Saturday Reviews

Deer Tick

Born on Flag Day (Partisan)

"I could drink myself to death tonight, I could stand and give a toast," grates John Joseph McCauley III on Deer Tick's sophomore outing, an album as entangled with its own depressed heritage as its frontman's name. Flag Day kicks off with an electrified squall of guitar on "Easy," but "Little White Lies" and "Smith Hill" both settle into beer-soaked, country-rollicked anguish that cuts harshly with McCauley's nasally grit. His wrenched fatalism finds balance in the Rhode Island quartet's propelled rhythms, "Houston, TX" shuffling further on down the road and "The Ghost" swilling the bottle's fleeting relief. Even optimism is backed against a wall of desperation, through the Clem Snide-ish "Hell on Earth" to the distant Dylan echoes of "Song About a Man" and rockabilly howl of "Straight Into a Storm." With the 1950s pop sway of "Stung" falling apart into the hidden outtake of "Goodnight, Irene," McCauley makes misery sound downright nostalgic. (11:45am, Dell stage.)

***.5

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