Our folky friends turned slightly emo with the change of the seasons. Lyrically strong, Michigan based act Frontier Ruckus brings what we all needed in their latest record “Sitcom Afterlife.” The feelings that ignite when listening to rap are ignited once again, except this time under a folk-rock banner. The lyrics are what catch. If we’re talking about rap, Frontier Ruckus’ front man Matthew Milia has a “good flow”. With weird wordings you would have never thought could have gone together, Frontier Ruckus is making people feel some type of way.Naturally, words come with ease and intensity from Milia. Coming from intimate and raw beginnings, “Sitcom Afterlife” brings us to a more produced and punk-rock side of Frontier Ruckus without losing the folk appeal. The same droning voice that swoons hearts from previous albums such as “Eternity of Dimming” and “The Orion Songbook” comes in this album with a new fresh look on their band. The first song of the album “The Splendid World” hits with nostalgia of the 90’s right away with the chord structure and horn section. It immediately incorporates influences from the band Why? when the lyrics kick in. Frontier Ruckus drives us with this energy throughout the whole album. In the same way punk-rock makes some feel a sense of redemption and radical alteration, this album has the same force, but with a banjo. In the same way that punk makes sure you know that everyone is unhappy, Frontier Ruckus does it with the aesthetic of a folk rock band. The single “Bathroom Stall Hypnosis” talks about an old lover and how unhappy he thinks she is, using lyrics such as, “Is your microphone malfunctioning/ or is it finally broken/ mine’s so loud its ringing your wall”, that conveys a hope of a fallen human he once loved. Another track on the album, “Down in the Morning We Thought We’d Never Lose”, talks about how much the singer hates someone, then changes the mood of in the middle of the song by saying, “Half asleep/ sweep the glory of your unshaved legs”, making sure you slightly know that he still loves this person. Then, on the cusp of a chorus he throws in this little lyric, “the pubic hair, cubic square of every strand of bandit glow”, and in the end you want to surrender to Matthew Milia and his brain. Merging the folk and rock scenes, Frontier Ruckus’ “Sitcom Afterlife” is as fresh as watermelon and as ironically dreary as a visit to a Hallmark store. Milia makes sure the lyrics are heard but in such a vague way you have no idea if that is actually how he wants you to understand the songs. You feel the sense of 90’s resurrection steeping through his mouth and the feeling is nice. RELATED ARTISTS Why?, Sufjan Stevens, Modern Baseball, Conor Oberst, Monsters of Folk You can hear this album and more indie jams during The Basement on KUMD 103.3 FM Duluth Public Radio – student run radio every night after 9 o’clock! Stream online at KUMD.org. The Basement is Duluth Underground Radio.
BY Casey Holmstrom Student Life Reporter