My review of Indianapolis-based indie-alternative band Margot and the Nuclear So and Sos’ new album Buzzard is now up on Stereo Subversion! Feel free to check it out there for the full review, or read a clip below:
Richard Edwards can be an uncompromising bandleader. He knows what music he wants to make and how he wants to make it, and if fans aren’t ready to come along for the ride, or if record industry “know alls” decide they know what’s better for him, he’ll tear everything apart to regain control. I interviewed him for Ball State’s 72 Hours in 2004 back when he was part of Archer Avenue, and he was quick to tell me his music wasn’t for everyone and he wasn’t trying to make music that would fit that mold.
So it didn’t surprise me to see the band, on a major label in 2008, bucking the system by daring to release Animal/Not Animal as a dual album, the first being the label’s album, the second being their “director’s cut.” I also wasn’t surprised to note that in many cases the record label had been right. Sometimes artists need editors, and in the case of Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s, bypassing the gatekeeper made for a bizarre dual-album experience that was often less than the sum of its parts. It certainly wasn’t up to the lofty debut the band had made with 2006’s The Dust of Retreat, which remains one of my favorite albums from the last five years, indie or not.
A lot of fuss has been made over the band’s membership shifts when preparing for the release of third album, Buzzard, but put that shit to rest. If every band needs an editor, sometimes the makeup of a band can need some trimming and reconstructing as well. The band began with eight members, which created frequently complicated arrangements and sonic diversions which, while interesting to a point, tended to make some of their music lean toward the obtuse. There were always some great hooks there, but listeners had to be willing to listen repeatedly and dig, dig, dig.
To read the rest, visit Stereo Subversion.