Cruising northern/rural Oakland county as flakey snow blankets billow down their tender chilling smother of these scattered porch-lit mouths gaped from boxy hibernating mini-mansions, the rust-rimmed two-door coupe rolls towards the freeway. And the voice sings over the humble stereo, with the taut twang of banjo, the tinny saw’s slithered oscillation, the muted fuzzed plod of drums while the voice shatters and stings like ice.

This wintry night drive through mid-Michigan felt like the ideal time and scenario to be listening to a Frontier Ruckus album. Quaking evocations of seasonal mystique and sense of self, crepuscular curiosities, a blocky wanderlust, a sound that splays and seeks (not a hook – like pop, not a burst – like rock, not a honk, whine or croon like country or emo or blues but too electric for folk and too baroque for bluegrass). “Cinematic” or “expansive” are fitting for this 20-track-double-LP, charting the runtime of most feature films, but it holds the listener as successive songs let more light in: the bubbly bite of banjo and rustling drums build something conducive with that voice (a creaking trill breathed and carried in such a theatric way where every word carries implied vitality).

A songbook, it’s their ultimate trip into poetic-nostalgia, opening up to you like a wilderness, to be climbed, chopped-through, camped-in, navigated, surveyed, song to song to song. The textures of “Dimming” are tidal and twisting, a willowy-wisped organ palpable in the corners of every song, subdued but then high-kicking way up front in buzzy undulations.

About the Author

Jeff Milo
Jeff Milo
Jeff is another awesome member of the iSPY team.