Frontier Ruckus – Deadmalls and Nightfalls [Album Review]

by Woody on July 26, 2010

frontier ruckus

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.

Frontier Ruckus – Nerves of the Nightmind

Video: Frontier Ruckus – The Tower

The Author:

Erica resides in Atlanta, GA and blogs about music at Handclaps and Hoorahs.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Sir Indie July 26, 2010 at 7:25 am

Not sure if it’s the crickets and nature in the background, but on some parts of him singing, I’m a little on the fence. However, I’m in love the guitar-play, and the melody he’s singing along with the acoustic is a great combination..

I’d get the album…want to hear more music first however. =)


DRoberts July 26, 2010 at 9:32 am

I agree SirIndie. His vocals are not my favorite. However, the musicianship is top-notch and has kept me going back for more. That says alot about the group because I am not too favorable on the vocals but still love the album. Definitely a good listen.

Silverfishes July 26, 2010 at 5:38 pm

Not sure why anyone would let vocals get in the way of such amazing lyrics.Just ask Neil Young fans

oz July 26, 2010 at 5:58 pm

I was going to say something similar, silverfishes. I actually dig the vocals – fragile and wavering, which tends to fall in line with the lyrics. Frontier Ruckus is a band that captivates you with songwriting.

I don’t know how they remember their songs with so many words crammed into each one. I think they even make up some words. “Perfunctoraly” from the song Springterror comes to mind.

Kim_NokiaMusic July 27, 2010 at 5:38 am

I miss Anna’s vocals.

Jessi_Y July 27, 2010 at 8:29 am

Anna’s still on the album. I think his voice is perfect in capturing the feeling of his lyrics. It is crazy how he crams so much into a lyric. I feel the album has more of a serious tone unlike The Orion Songbook. I still love it though.

Cedric July 27, 2010 at 8:58 am

I have to say, I downloaded their first full-length album and hated his vocals the first time I heard them. But something made me come back and listen again, and again… Now I’m a full-fledged hardcore fan. I strongly suggest that those of you ‘on the fence’ give them some time to grow on you, I can almost certainly guarantee that they will!

DRoberts July 28, 2010 at 10:14 pm

The point I was trying to make about his vocals was the first time I listened I almost stopped. For some reason I didn’t and continued to listen through to the end of the album. The vocals definitely fit the lyrics as Oz pointed out and compliment the album.

RICHAHD July 30, 2010 at 6:54 am

Check out there day trotter session, its tits.

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