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Frontier Ruckus - Eternity of Dimming

  by Benjamin Howarth

published: 8 / 3 / 2013

Frontier Ruckus - Eternity of Dimming
Label: Loose Music
Format: CD X2


Instantly memorable double CD third album and first UK release from versatile Detroit-based Americana outfit, Frontier Ruckus

Having built a reasonable following amongst the folk fans in their hometown of Detroit, released two albums and several EPs and toured Europe twice, Frontier Ruckus clearly felt that their first album to enjoy an international release should be their major statement. Accordingly, ‘Eternity of Dimming’, their first album for Loose, is a twenty track double album. Frontier Ruckus are the kind of band that have so many influences, they don’t sound especially like anyone else in particular. Occasionally, I’m reminded of mid-period REM (especially the ‘New Adventures in Hi-Fi’ album), Bright Eyes, Okkervil River, Counting Crows and Wilco, but there are also nods to the Band, Neil Young and – when the harmonies kick in – the Beach Boys. Singer and songwriter Matt Milia crams as many words as he can into each line, singing with an unusual voice that is somewhere between Jeff Mangum and Adam Duritz. There is always a slight danger when bands are lead by gifted singer-songwriters that they slightly eclipse the rest of the band. That isn’t a risk here - around him, the music is lush, with warm chord progressions and thick layers of keyboards and trumpets, but never sickly. There are more than twenty different instruments used on the album, ranging from conventional folk instruments (banjo and guitar) to the more unusual (tubular bells and lowry organs). Yet, the sound is often sparse – with Milia’s acoustic guitar and David Jones’ banjo at the heart of the sound - but these gentler moments are punctured with the swells of brass and strings. There are also plenty of moments where the band’s love for 90s alt-rock tells. Some of these songs are breezy country-rock ditties, others are wistful piano ballads. Some are dense, multi-layered epics, shifting from solo acoustic verses to abstract breakdowns and rock choruses. The album is summed up by its final track, ‘Careening Catalog Immemorial’, an incessant, slow burning song built around strummed acoustic guitar, with subtle harmonies and bare-brush accompaniment from the rest of the band. The extensive lyric sheet is packed densely with Milia’s words – carefully constructed rhyming patterns and elaborate imagery – which are all themed around a yearning nostalgia for Milia’s 'childhood. There is a real unity to the whole album, lyrically and musically – tracks often run into each other, and the more you listen, the more sense the idea of a double album makes. What could they possibly have left out? There is more good music being made at the moment than anyone could possibly have time to listen to – but every once in a while, I come across a band who really knock my socks off. You want to tell everyone you know to stop whatever they are doing and just listen to this album. 'Eternity of Dimming' is a grand statement, packed with beautiful arrangements, arresting lyrics, instantly memorable tunes and slow burning epics. If you are anything like me, you’ll be playing this album over and over and over again.

Track Listing:-
1 Eyelashes
2 Black Holes
3 Thermostat
4 Birthday Girl
5 Junk-Drawer Sorrow
6 The Black-Ice World
7 I Buried You So Deep
8 Granduncles of St. Lawrence County
9 Bike Trail
10 I Met Rebecca
11 Eternity of Dimming
12 If the Suns Collapse
13 Nightmares of Space
14 Surgery
15 If the Summer
16 In Protection of Sylvan Manor
17 Dealerships
18 Funeral Family Flowers
19 Open It Up
20 Careening Catalog Immemorial

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