Frontier Ruckus – Deadmalls and Nightfalls

January 01, 1970



So what do banjos, dobros, trumpets, alto horn and a singing
saw have in common? One wouldn’t think very much were it not for Frontier
Ruckus, a citified quintet of rustic folkies whose name belies their mournful
melodies. Though they hail from Detroit, their songs evoke the loneliness and
isolation of a dust-blown prairie. It’s a feeling owed in large measure to
vocalist Matthew Milia, a star in the making whose voice sounds like a forlorn
fusion of Connor Oberst and ex Jayhawk/Creekdipper Mark Olson, with the wistful
remorse of former label mates the Avett Brothers tossed in for good measure.


Yet, despite the strange disparity of their musical make-up,
this sophomore set holds indisputable charms. Remarkably, the arrangements
remain both cohesive and compelling, the swelling horns reinforcing the flush
of the more traditional instrumentation. Songs like “The Tower,” “How Could I
Abandon?” and “Ringbearer” ring with a palatable despair that underscores their
homespun humility. However this is no downer. Even in the face of that
pervasive yearning, Deadmalls &
boasts an unassuming, unfettered appeal that grows more
affecting with each successive hearing.


DOWNLOAD: “Ringbearer,” “”The Tower,” “How Could I Abandon?”  LEE ZIMMERMAN




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