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Deer Tick Announce New Album “Emotional Contracts” out 16th June via ATO Records & Shares New Single “Forgiving Ties”

April 26, 2023
Photo Credit: CJ Harvey




“Each track is like a little deal you make with yourself (a contract if you will). Much of the material focuses on the fight to survive. A timely coincidence with all the COVID lockdowns and cancelled shows…or perhaps all of that was subconscious inspiration. But here we are; Deer Tick lives to see another day.Deer Tick on ‘Emotional Contracts

Providence, RI’s favourite sons, Deer Tick, today announced their Dave Fridmann (The Flaming Lips, Spoon, Sleater-Kinney)-produced new album, ‘Emotional Contracts’, will be released on 16th June 2023, via their new label home, ATO Records.

The band –John McCauley (vocals, guitar), Ian O’Neil (guitar, vocals), Dennis Ryan (drums), and Christopher Ryan (bass)– has also shared the O’Neil-led lead single ‘Forgiving Ties‘ alongside a playful Brandon Herman-directed video. “The song is essentially a metaphor for the fear that results from a sudden traumatic event, and how to move forward and take care of yourself and your loved ones,” explains O’Neil of the lyrically pensive track that’s belied by its ebullient sound, which features the spirited trumpet work of Fridmann’s son, Jon, and finds McCauley chiming in to play the part of a jittery inner voice.  

Life feels more normal when Deer Tick are on the scene. Back with that familiar charm, which they pave into all their creations, “Forgiving Ties” propels this immense outfit back to their fans at a time they need them most. This captivating spirit just cascades from the tonality, the vocal harmonies, the shuffles, there is a keen brightness to this composition and that clarity is what hooks the audience.

‘Forgiving Ties’ arrives alongside the grand, brooding, and cathartic album closer, “The Real Thing.” Of the deeply personal, near nine-minute-long track, McCauley explains, “At first I had an idea for a song called ‘The Last Book on the Shelf,’ which I ended up using as a title for a song about all the creepy book-banning happening lately. ‘The Real Thing’ became about living with depression, which has been part of my existence since I was a kid, and how it takes even more work to keep your head above water as you get older.”

Emotional Contracts, Deer Tick’s first new work since 2017, is now available for pre-order

‘Emotional Contracts’ catalogues all the existential casualties that accompany the passing of time, instilling each song with the irresistibly reckless spirit that’s defined Deer Tick for nearly two decades. Before heading into the studio with Fridmann, the four-piece spent months working on demos in a perpetually flooded warehouse space in their hometown, enduring the busted heating system and massive holes in the roof as they carved out the album’s 10 raggedly eloquent tracks. ‘Emotional Contracts’ fully echoes the unruly energy of its creation, ultimately making for a heavy-hearted yet wildly life-affirming portrait of growing older without losing heart. 

Mostly recorded live–and honed down from nearly 20 songs to a concise, thoughtfully curated ten–the album is their most collaborative to date, and sees all four members operating at their peak songcraft powers. ‘Emotional Contracts’ came to life over an unusually lengthy period of time for the band, with each track based in playing around together and connected in the almost telepathic way that’s only possible after nearly 20 years. Well-rehearsed and overly prepared, Deer Tick embraced a decidedly more free-and-easy approach to the recording process at Fridmann’s Tarbox Road Studios in Western New York.

We’ve had a habit of trying to maintain a strict control over everything in the studio, but this time we wanted to see what it would feel like to let go a bit,” says McCauley. “We figured that the songs were strong enough to stand on their own two feet, so whatever we put them through would just make them stronger and take us in some new directions.” Dennis adds, “The fact that we’d spent so much time with these songs allowed us to be really free once we got into the studio. No one was overthinking anything, and because of that the album sounds like us in a way that we’d never captured to this extent before.”

Featuring guest musicians like Steve Berlin of Los Lobos–and background vocals from singer/songwriters like Courtney Marie Andrews, Vanessa Carlton (who is also McCauley’s wife), Kam Franklin, Angela Miller, and Sheree Smith–the album adds an even greater vitality to their feverish collection of timeless rock-and-roll.

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