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Deer Tick, ‘Divine Providence’

October 25, 2011

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Deer Tick has spent its career working so hard to avoid being pigeonholed as a country band (or roots, or blues, or folk . . .) that “Divine Providence’’ aims to prove that it’s all and none of the above. The result is that, intentionally or not, the Rhode Islanders’ fourth album emulates Wilco’s second album, and not just because of the ramshackle rock ’n’ roll charms of “Funny Word’’ and “Let’s All Go to the Bar.’’ There’s an eager sense throughout of “What can we do now?’’ familiar to fans of “Being There,’’ and Deer Tick comes close to nailing that record’s scope on the Supertrampy ballad “Now It’s Your Turn’’ (featuring terrific guitar work not only in the searing solo but in the subtle grandeur of fills reminiscent of Elton John sideman Davey Johnstone) and the sultry Boz Scaggs feel of “Make Believe.’’ But Deer Tick lacks the discipline not to attack the latter like a barnburner, as well as to fill every inch of its 75-plus minutes like Wilco did. Thanks to the gap between “Miss K.’’ and unlisted Paul Westerberg tune “Mr. Cigarette,’’ “Divine Providence’’ pads its runtime with half an hour of nuthin’. (Out now) MARC HIRSH

ESSENTIAL “Main Street’’

Deer Tick performs Nov. 18 at Royale.