Review: Frontier Ruckus’ New Album ‘On the Northline’
UPDATED: February 22, 2024
UPDATED: February 22, 2024

Long-awaited: Another Ruckus on the Frontier

Frontier Ruckus makes a triumphant return after a 7-year hiatus with their long-awaited album, On the Northline, featuring 12 new songs and 48 minutes of melancholic melodies.

Frontier Ruckus defies categorization, drawing inspiration from Neutral Milk Hotel while vocally evoking early 90s Alt Rock bands like Weezer or They Might Be Giants. Their incorporation of folk and country-esque instrumentation sets them apart, like a grassroots fusion of Andrew Jackson Jihad meets the pacing of the Mountain Goats.

Despite comparisons, Frontier Ruckus has carved out a niche path of individuality. On the Northline is a call back to their earlier works, creating angsty, haunting soundscapes. The opening track, I Swore I Had Friend, establishes the album’s tone with alternating minor chords, eerie banjo and brass accompaniments. The instruments pave way for the long-awaited siren-like squealing of the musical saw.

Matthew Milia, Lyrics, And Poetry

Apart from their folksy punk-indie rock persona, Frontier Ruckus is known for their heavy poetic lyrics. On the Northline explores familiar themes such as nostalgia, love, loss, aging, and redemption, with Matthew Milia‘s distinctive and deliberate pacing.

The title track, On the Northline, literally reads like poetry, detailing one’s upbringing along the Northline, likely New York based on interviews, and confronting the existential dread of stagnation. Another single, Not The Boy, expresses a longing for connection in the protagonist’s life. Each track on the album is rich with vivid imagery and colorful language.

Final Thoughts

Frontier Ruckus recaptures their essence with On the Northline

While On the Northline doesn’t offer anything drastically new, it satisfies fans’ expectations, reminiscent of classic Frontier Ruckus. Despite the presence of electric and digital instruments, the core sound revolves around folksy stringed elements and the elusive musical saw we all dearly missed.

Frontier Ruckus excels in their signature style, making On the Northline a commendable return to their roots. They do something very specific, and they do it very well. If you’re a passive listener, this may not be your style. This project is meant to be consumed and thoughtfully digested. It took multiple listens for me to comprehend the intricate and nuanced dialog. Overall, On The Northline is a positive step backward, recapturing the band’s essence and delivering an overly successful project and welcome addition to their discography.

Album Release: February 16, 2024       Label: Sitcom Universe

Favorite Tracks: On the Northline, Not the Boy, Clarkston Pasture

 

RootsnRevelry Grade:                           

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