The Black Dirt Sessions

Deer Tick's John McCauley has a wobbly voice and a wobblier sense of self. "Raindrops like bullets on my fragile skin/Insecurities I've had are creeping within," he croaks on "Twenty Miles" over chiming guitar and swelling backing vocals. Like all the songs on The Black Dirt Sessions, "Twenty Miles" is pretty, atmospheric — and too self-serious. Dirt has more mood pieces than songs, and the lyrics get just plain goofy. "Like a heart that's hung in the sky," he sings in "Christ Jesus," "The hard-on when I die."

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