Arts Desk

The Sleigher: Deer Tick’s “Christmas All Summer Long”

HO HO WHO: Rhode Island janglemeisters Deer Tick, who were the inaugural subjects of NBC anchor Brian Williams' BriTunes feature. It must be said, for the record, that The Sleigher has a much cooler name and is far more prolific than BriTunes. Deer Tick, meanwhile, released its third full-length, The Black Dirt Sessions, over the summer and last week issued Holy Shit It's Christmas, a two-song holiday EP.

FLEECE AND TICKS: "Christmas All Summer Long," the widely available freebie from the EP, is more balls-out than the average song by Deer Tick, which generally skews more toward "NPR alt-country" than "holy shit" in delivery. Holy Shit's title track, meanwhile, seems to be a slab of aggro lounge-jazz. The Sleigher is pretty sure that the only reason both songs exist is that the band's label, Partisan Records, wanted some free shit to throw in with customers' holiday Deer Tick purchases.

SEASONAL DISORDER: There's a hoary tradition of tossed-off, amped-up rock 'n' roll Christmas tracks, but The Sleigher believes that an Xmas burner should truly be a burner. Y'know, either have the ability to immolate the tree, or have a heart darker than a chunk of anthracite. "Christmas All Summer Long" has neither. Instead, the song poses the concept of a megaholiday of surfy, boozy hedonism ("Christmas kayaks/Christmas boats/Christmas yachts all up and down the coast"). But let's be honest: That shit would get old pretty quickly.

CHEER FACTOR: 5/10. Although frontman John McCauley gives a credible life-of-the-party performance, the song is a missed opportunity. The Sleigher would have turned "Christmas All Summer Long" into something hilariously fascistic, as if the indomitable forces of Christmas were scheming to take over the entire year. Because they are, right?

LISTEN: Deer Tick – "Christmas All Summer Long"

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