In the ongoing collapse of our collective attention span, the modern indie band at the 5th-album mark draws closer to endangered species status. Rarer still are bands who have managed to maintain the same integrity of creative purpose as Frontier Ruckus.
Enter the Kingdom, their 5th and most lush record to date, serves as an almost desperate invitation into the band’s most recurrent setting: the suburban American household. It is immediately apparent, however, that the emphasis this time is not so much on idyllic nostalgia but the very real and present tense disintegration of a personal kingdom once thought permanent.
Songwriter Matthew Milia has explained the album as a rather literal depiction of his father losing his job and relying on disability checks to retain a tenuous grasp on his childhood home. The specificity with which this is conveyed to the listener is harrowing at times, though never in full abandonment of a dark and balancing sense of humour.
Michigan’s Frontier Ruckus formed at the turn of the millennium by Catholic high school friends Matthew Milia (vocals and guitar) and David Jones (banjo), who were then joined in their college years by Zachary Nichols (brass, musical saw, melodica) and Anna Burch (vocals and bass guitar). Each stage of the band has documented the blurry gradations of adulthood with magnetic detail. As a band steeped in both the nostalgic wonder and dysfunction of a 1990s upbringing, references to a shared history fondly held are intrinsic to Frontier Ruckus’ songcraft.