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Album: Deer Tick, The Black Dirt Sessions (Fargo)

The first of their three albums to secure a UK release, The Black Dirt Sessions finds US indie combo Deer Tick mining a rich vein of Americana in which life is presumed to be a losing game, though not necessarily unworthy of celebration.

The sluggish roll of Neil Young & Crazy Horse can be discerned in the undercarriage of a song like "When She Comes Home", while the grizzled, weather-beaten tone of songwriter John McCauley's voice hints at hard experience, especially buttressed with haunted backing moans in REM style, as on "20 Miles". His plaintive manner is well suited to the prayerful slant of "Choir Of Angels" and "Christ Jesus", which bookend the album; but it's clearly a threadbare belief he's clinging to – as he notes in "Blood Moon", "years of delusion puts scars on your faith".

DOWNLOAD THIS 20 Miles; Choir Of Angels; When She Comes Home; Mange