One thing I like to do when I hear a new band is to try and imagine where they would have sat in class at school. With Michigan's Frontier Ruckus, it's fairly readily apparent that they would have sat right at the front. They'd have been teacher pleasers, fresh faced geeks from nice homes. No criticism intended. I was very much one of those kids myself.
Their latest album Enter the Kingdom is 'nice' in the best possible sense. Cosy, warm songs for cosy, warm living rooms with a logfire aglow, with thoughtful unwinding lyrical sentiments that don't readily repeat themselves, articulate, literate and essentially deeply loving of humanity and life itself. They're the kind of people you might bump into after they'd played a gig who would be genuinely and sincerely grateful and surprised and utterly lacking in attitude when you thanked them for the show they'd played. Not the Velvet Underground then.
Enter the Kingdom is an upbeat and consistent set of songs for you to play when your nice friends come round. There's always a danger that such uninterrupted positivity might curdle eventually, there's not a sharp angry moment all the way through (it's all sweetness and light),but the record is such a well-managed package and no song is a weak link in any respect that ultimately you've got to hand it to them, most of all for final song and title track, the best thing on here and a genuinely touching denouement. I imagine they all did well in their exams too!