Frontier Ruckus – Enter the Kingdom (Loose)

Frontier Ruckus – Enter the Kingdom (Loose)

Frontier Ruckus welcome you into their world with a warm handshake and a shy smile. They are a bit embarrassed about the decor and they are hoping that their dad doesn’t say something gruff from the settee. It’s as you tiptoe past the living room door that you are invited to Enter the Kingdom.

Frontier Ruckus have secured a reputation on homeliness but one with the sober realities left in. Their fifth album, Enter the Kingdom is not nostalgic as such, because looking back on the 1990s somehow doesn’t seem fit for that. But it is the kind of humorous depiction you can only do when you look back on yourself as a love-starved teenager, forever believing that being an orphan would be a romantic development in your life.

Recorded in Nashville, the album is full of classic Frontier Ruckus acoustic guitars and harmonies between singer Matthew Milia and Anna Burch. There are also some emotive string sections such as on ‘Gerunds’, surely the only song ever to rhyme that word with ‘parents’. ‘Enter the Kingdom’, the final and title track, has such mellifluous strings that they seem to dance in and out of each other. Zachary Nichols’s instrumentation and David Jones’s guitar get an opportunity to take centre stage on ‘Since Milford’. This instrumental is delicate and solemn, opening with keys like a church organ.

On many songs the lyrics, with their clever and surprising rhyme schemes, grab the limelight. Most are written about the point when someone needed to coax young Milia out of his bedroom. A cookie and a glass of milk or a pretty girl in a flowery dress are probably all it took. With rhymes as unexpected as, ‘store wasn’t open’/ ‘Ibuprofen’/ ‘frozen’, this is Morrissey living in Detroit and sitting out on the veranda. I imagine Milia’s father despaired about him in much the same way.

Just as our very own Alex Turner and Jarvis Cocker peppered their earlier lyrics with specific street names, Milia references his locality. ‘Positively Freaking’ has the ‘tennis court’ and ‘Sarah Springtime’ has the ‘deserted megachurch’. It is oppressive, as if the town boundary just leads you into wasteland once you reach it. Escape is still a dream and some good A Level results away.

Despite the kitchen sink and dirty dishes themes, Enter the Kingdom transcends the everyday. It is a sensitive and perceptive album that documents the emotions of different relationships, our blood ones as well as our romantic.

Frontier Ruckus reach these shores at the beginning of March where they will be playing the likes of ‘York, England’. A gentle and enjoyable night out, I imagine it will be. You’ll even get the chance to watch someone playing the banjo live!

Enter the Kingdom is released on 17th February 2017 through Loose.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.