Frontier Ruckus’second full length album Deadmalls and Nightfalls (named after the now abandoned strip mall that lead singer Matt Milia’s mother worked at during his youth) is a blatant homage to the people and places that make lasting impressions throughout life. The band is successful in their illustration of memories past. Even I wanted to go back to my childhood in Michigan (although I have lived in Atlanta my whole life).
The band’s follow up to their previous full length album The Orion Songbook (2008) is familiarly guided by Milia’s unmistakable vocals and features the signature sound of banjo, singing saw, and trumpet that listeners will recognize. Even though the band has held on to the attributes that have made them a buzz-building folk act, even getting a recommendation by Rolling Stone magazine as “an act to see at Bonnaroo 2010,” Deadmalls and Nightfalls is completely different than their previous release. Where older songs such as “Latter Days” and “The Deep-Yard Dream” sound like they may have been recorded around the campfire, Deadmalls features a cleaner sound from the band.
“Silverfishes” and “The Upper Room” are tied for my vote as favorite track. Overall Deadmalls and Nightfalls is a successful progression for Frontier Ruckus. Do I consider this album one of my favorites of the year? No. Will I listen to this album often? Possibly. Is it my first choice as album to put on during a long road trip through the country? Definitely.
Video: Frontier Ruckus – The Tower
Erica resides in Atlanta, GA and blogs about music at Handclaps and Hoorahs.