Following the sprawling giant double "Eternity Dimming" was always going to be a difficult task but to be fair to Matthew Milla and his chums in Frontier Ruckus they have recognised that a slight change of direction is in order. "Sitcom Afterlife" is far less of the sort of Sufjan Stevens meets alternative country they have previously mastered and much more of a breezy power pop/rock record with echoes of Teenage Fanclub and Big Star. The glorious "Sad Modernity" is worth the price of admission in its own right and remains full of Milla's wordy narratives that make the songs jam packed with wonderful imagery.
Look deeper however and there is more to this album than meets the eye. Songs like "Crabapples in the Century Storm" shows that Milla writes better Conor Oberst songs than Conor Oberst. It powers on a real pace with Milla spitting out his words over a lovely band dynamic. Equally "Down in the morning we never lose" employs horns and a saw to great spooky effect. True "Bathroom Stall Hypnosis" does sound that the band could pay royalties to Elvis Costello, but any slips are kept to the bare minimum.
"Sitcom Afterlife" is inevitably shaded by the the shadow cast by both "Eternity Dimming" and the bands masterpiece "Deadmalls and Nightmalls". There is nonetheless a fine album on display in "Sitcom Afterlife" and again begs the question when are record buyers going to beckon this Detroit band to stand on the main stage. Let us hope its not too long.
Review by Red on Black