Margot and the Nuclear So and So's – Buzzard
Release: September 21, 2010
Label: Mariel Recording Company
Margot and the Nuclear So and So's are a dreamy rock band that originate in Indianapolis, Indiana. Since their debut The Dust of Retreat in 2005, the band has gone through a series of lineup changes and label switches. At one time, the band found themselves on the Epic roster yet they quarreled heavily over the songs that would be on their sophomore effort Animal! Either way, the Margot is best defined by front man Richard Edwards.
I was introduced to Margot by my girlfriend who showed me the song "Broad Ripple is Burning". I dug the beautiful harmonies and Edwards' smooth vocal work. In a way, those two things are the basic formula to a Margot song and there are plenty on the latest record.
Buzzard finds the band not on the Epic label. It also finds the band going in a more electric direction with the tracks. While the opening "Birds" may be deceiving in its mellow opening, it quickly morphs into a pounding rhythm and Edwards opening up the vocals wide and loud. I respect bands that redefine their sound from album to album. That pattern is certainly true with Margot and we see with Buzzard that they've produced a very honest rock record.
"Let's Paint Our Teeth Green" and "New York City Hotel Blues" sound like they are lost 90s alternative rock hits. "I'm never gonna break your heart/Not unless I have to", Edwards confesses on "…Hotel Blues" and he sounds so sincere that the listener can't help but think it's true. The frankness of the record's lyrics is never compromised by the need to produce a gorgeous hook or a strained harmony. Mainly, because Edwards and company make it look so damn easy. Great musicianship and lyric writing? Yeah, you can find plenty of that on Buzzard.
"Claws Off" brings a somewhat unmemorable folksy vibe before quickly fading into "Will You Love Me Forever?" The latter track sounds like a mesh of Arcade Fire and Kings of Leon which is not a bad combination in the slightest. "Will you love me forever?" Edwards sings over up-tempo radio rock styling before nonchalantly sliding into a Butler inspired verse.
"Tiny Vampire Robots" is a very nostalgic tune, being very similar to what you might find on Dust of Retreat which makes a nice prelude to "Your Lower Back", a striking, foot-tapping romp. "Freak Flight Speed" provides a rolling ballad and the first of three songs which slow down the record a bit. Yet, the last one named "Lunatic, Lunatic, Lunatic" provides one of the most hauntingly beautiful tracks this year. It opens with an unknown sound byte (invented by the band perhaps) that says, "Brothers and sisters, sometimes you feel like you can't succeed, and I’m here to tell you that you're probably right. But if you stay strong, everything will be all right." There's that damn honesty again. But if I may dish my own advice, don't you fucking lose it.
Finally, "Earth Aliens: What Do You Want?" and "I Do" finish up the album. "Earth Aliens" is a volatile mix of electric fury and soft crooning over excellently picked melodies. "I Do" is an acoustic closer, which gives of an interesting live vibe. It sets a near perfect tone and sums up the record nicely.
With Buzzard, the band has crafted one of the best rock records that we'll see this year. Usually, I'm not one to say "That band deserves to be huge" but that is something I can truly believe in with Margot and the Nuclear So and So's.