Frontier Ruckus – Sitcom Afterlife
Quite Scientific, 2014
Acquired: Christmas, New, 2014
How the hell did I not notice the deeply personal nature of this record? I liked it when it came out. I liked it a whole hell of a lot but Eternity of Dimming had just dropped the year before and I was still obsessed with that one so I wasn’t quite ready. I’m listening to my copy now for the first time in six months and holy shit, I’m blown away. And now they have a new record coming out in a couple months and STOP THIS MADNESS! This is the same thing that happened with the Hold Steady. Every year I was delivered a new masterpiece and every year I felt unworthy of this world that was so gracious to give me a yearly installment of something I loved.
Actually, Frontier Ruckus and the Hold Steady aren’t that far apart, as both Matthew Milia and Craig Finn thrive on wordy, little-detail packed tales from their boyhood hometowns. That’s where I will mercifully end this crazed comparison, because FR’s method of filtering nostalgia through the sadness of the future is their greatest asset. Where Eternity of Dimming was a journey into the center of Milia’s beautiful Midwestern heart, Sitcom Afterlife plays like a focused look at love gone wrong. The album is much poppier than its predecessor, utilizing chiming guitar lines and harmonies that would make a choir of angels jealous, but wins with its quiet tracks. The big, slowburn closer “A&W Orange and Brown” is the group’s finest hour (to date) as far as I’m concerned. They nail this extremely precise tone of sadness that stays with you for days.
Taking a break from this record seems to have solidified my opinion of it. Looking at it with fresh eyes I appreciate the band’s boundless belief in what they are doing. You don’t put three albums out in three years if you’re not in love with your own music and can’t put into words how thrilled you are to share it. That’s confidence! A bucking of the typical media cycle most bands go through before embarking on the next cycle. I guess that’s doable for Frontier Ruckus since, for reasons that escape me, are relatively unknown. How these guys aren’t exploding is beyond comprehension because in my unesteemed opinion they should be everyone’s new favorite band.
"A&W Orange and Brown"