Opening with time-distorted audio and slow-motion shots of the band jamming outside in front of a blank wall, Deer Tick’s “Main Street” video features the plugged-in folkies in their natural element: Wearing sunglasses at night, hunched over and ducking a shitload of fireworks fired at them from off-screen. Just another Thursday night for these guys, right? (Note: the sunglasses aren’t an affectation, they’re eye protection.)
The song’s an aggressively melancholic dirge, with frontman John McCauley singing in a strained howl about how he can’t sleep, can’t eat, can’t hear, can’t breathe, can’t write — it’s the sort of thing Kurt Cobain might have recorded if he’d lived to make the cowpunk record that was surely lingering in his heart. Visually, the “Main Street” video captures that discontent — once the fireworks calm down (and the dude who scrawls “This video sucks” on the wall behind the band has run away), the backdrop falls apart and big, Hollywood-style cardboard letters spelling out “DEER TICK” appear. As the images start to fade away, they smash away some letters: E,E,R, and T. Read what you want into the rest: Is it a word of self-criticism? A commentary on the viewer? Another message for the director Colin Devin Moore? It’s up to you.
Deer Tick’s latest LP, Divine Providence, is out now on Partisan Records.