DEER TICK – Mayonnaise (Partisan)

MayonnaiseClearly not ones to think that, just because you’ve recently released two albums back to back, you can sit round twiddling your thumbs, the Rhode Island combo have put together Mayonnaise, a thirteen-song companion piece to 2017’s Deer Tick Vol 1 and Vol 2, a mixture of alternative versions (all from Vol 1), covers of songs that inspired that project and a few numbers into the bargain.

Taking the first category first, ‘Limp Right Back’ turns up largely without the drums and is joined by ‘End of the World’ on which the differences are again mainly in the percussion , and the fingerpicked, vaguely calypso-tinged ‘Doomed From The Start’ which doesn’t sound all that different, although does, perhaps, throw up the Camper Van Beethoven comparisons slightly more.

Turning to the four covers, it’s an eclectic choice that kicks off with a rowdy crash through the Pogues’ ‘White City’, John McCauley doing his best Shane, followed by a so so take on George Harrison’s ‘Run of the Mill’, a seven-minute folksy excursion through the Velvets’ much covered ‘Pale Blue Eyes’, the touchstone here seeming to be the Incredible String Band and, finally a reverb drenched, druggy and drawled version of Ben Vaughn’s ‘Too Sensitive For This World’.

This leaves six new numbers, the album opening with the bluesy, distorted guitar lope of ‘Spirals’, the next up conjuring The Band on the piano-backed slow march beat ‘Old Lady’. McCauley sounding like Dylan after having spent several months in the Caribbean, ‘Strange, Awful Feeling’ is a grower, while the country rumbling, upbeat ‘Hey! Yeah!’ sets its sights on the more adventurous of the line dancing set with its jerky bassline rhythms.

By contrast, ‘Memphis Chair’ is a saloon piano and sax slow waltz instrumental with a 50s noir cinematic air, the album ending with a guest appearance on pedal steel by Spencer Cullum Jr from Steelism (a largely instrumental Nashville outfit with a lounge penchant) for the playful, undulating ‘Cocktail’, served from a bar down on the Texicana border.

As the title suggests, it’s essentially a side dressing one for the fans rather than an enticement to attract new ears, but if you happen to be passing, it’s well worth taking a dip.

Mike Davies

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