Frontier Ruckus

The latest album from Michigan trio Frontier Ruckus has a way of coloring in the long-dusted outlines of American desperation. Drawing from endless vistas of strip mall scenery and the parched winter skies that drain the heart of its will to beat, the album is wrapped in a melancholy air that comes close to crushing, but winds its way around to uplifting in the end. Under fast-food signs rising like the crosses of cathedrals to a culture long since crumbled, the band picks out an emotional brand of Americana. Mandolin and pedal steel pock their tales of suburban hotels, unbearable heartache, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and poorly maintained Mercury Sables.

It’s a bit of a departure from what I’m used to on Loose Music, a haven for country’s outliers — from the Northwest meets Norwich country folk of Kassi Valazza to the glare n’ gloss of UK faves The Hanging Stars. This album feels like it might have found a home among the aughts fare on Asthmatic Kitty. The twin tremblers “In The Money” and “Bloomfield Marriott” are searching for their place with Carrie and Lowell, but the band makes a Sufjan sendup feel like a natural occurrence in 2024. The album might snuggle down in the sweater and sulk a bit more than its labelmates, but the band have a way with bittersweet bliss that makes returning to On The Northline a foregone conclusion. If your heart bears scars, the album’s here to help ‘em heal.

Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

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