“Bathroom Stall Hypnosis” is one of the first tracks to drop from the Michigan rock outfit Frontier Ruckus’ forthcoming album, Sitcom Afterlife. The song’s energetic instrumentation is a catchy and clever masquerade for the album’s reflective and deep lyrical material, a trait which runs through Frontier Ruckus’ music overall. (PopMatters writer Justin Cober-Lake has called the group’s lyrical style “carefully crafted stream of consciousness.”) The band is just coming off their 2013 double LP, Eternity of Dimming, and based on the vivacious spirit of this song, the release of Sitcom Afterlife has a lot in store for listeners.
Vocalist Matthew Milia tells PopMatters a great deal about the song, saying, “I wrote most of the songs on Sitcom Afterlife after a particularly weird and unceremonious breakup. The majority of the Frontier Ruckus catalog had dealt with a longstanding romantic situation that was much more complex—a bittersweet dissolution marked by shapeshifting guilt and confused but always tender love. This new situation was the opposite. Unambiguous, a bit disgraceful, and not altogether free of some pettiness on both sides. I was certainly very pissed at the time, and afforded some vitriol that allowed me to write a little differently than usual.
“There are several other cuts on the record that detail the fallout more poignantly. With ‘Bathroom Stall Hypnosis’, I was after something a bit detached—a breakup pop song looking at the situation more on the surface. Maybe more in the [Bob] Dylan approach of singing about it with some cool wryness, as it briefly makes it hurt less. I wrote it on a damp winter day, pacing around my dad’s neighborhood very quickly and neurotically. Writing verses to the fast tempo of my gait. The girl in the song has secrets. She’s a different person in the bathroom stall and it’s where she locks herself inside to indulge and kind of sink into the worst part of herself without having to feel shame or worry about who she’s hurting. She is aware of her selfishness and its harmful effects, but she wants to hide in a place where it just doesn’t matter for a bit. And though the song comes off as a bit of a crucifixion—I’ve often been just like her. When I sing it now I feel a total empathy. That’s why at the end, the song’s version of myself jokes that he’s been living in that same nightmare as well.”
Sitcom Afterlife is out through Quite Scientific on November 11th.
// Notes from the Road
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