Margot & The Nuclear So and So’s – Buzzard

The Chicago, IL via Indianapolis, IN, band release record #3, their ‘September gurl.’  A rebirth of sorts, creatively & personally, for singer-songwriter & head ‘Margot,’  Richard Edwards.


By Andy Whorehall

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"Buzzard"

There should be no questions by now that Margot & The Nuclear So & So’s is Richard Edwards‘ band.  The singer-songwriter from Indianapolis, IN, now calling Chicago, IL home, has taken his art project rock band to the major label and back with artistic defiance over the course of 3 intelligent, rock records.  With Buzzard, he’s stripped down ‘Margot’ to a fat-free, indie rock lineup capable of pulling off Alex Chilton-like fat riff arrangements, circa Big Star, while also being able to nod a glass to the softer side of Chilton and Bell’s compositions.

Edwards is no idiot when it comes to band additions & talent; he got one of the last decade’s finest aged wine’s for a Chicago songwriter in Cameron McGill, playing keys- and barely noticeable on Buzzard.  For the better though, Buzzard, is a new beginning on old grounds, guitar rock, the bends.  New waters for diving deep for the young Edwards and his Nukes.  There is no treading water on Buzzard.  This is guitar rock 101 pretty reminiscent in emotion to Radiohead’s The Bends. As if there is something larger to prove, the search for a new beginning and just maybe, finding it by record’s end.

Big Star’s influence is pretty prevalent too throughout album #3 for Edwards and the new mashup version of ‘Margot.’  If the previous ‘Margot’ was a wandering, loaded fat-filled potato, with horns and strings, capable of breathtaking, psychedelic-folk moments.  This version of ‘Margot & The Nukes’ is the gurl next door version, grown up, sans zits, a touch of left over baby fat and beautiful—  but silently vicious, capable of breaking your f*cking heart into 12 pieces as each song dares to do on Buzzard.

Many of Edwards’ compositions poke between domestic settings and killer melodies. Tiny Vampire Robot, forget the place you’re leaving;  but no one ever does.  Tiny vampire robot filled the dance floor with blood. Eternal questions & tele-toned fenders blasts a darker side of the 70s under-appreciated rock.  Those influences are promoted to songs like, Will you love me forever? I Do, and Birds.  A love song in disguise, My Baby (Cares for the Animals) could contain the first pro-vegan bridge to date;  ‘If you love me, don’t eat me. Mid-80s college rock;  Morrissey & Stipe would be proud;  or something like that.

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Margot

Chicago producer, Brian Deck (Engine Studios / of Red Red Meat / Califone), has had a great influence on many Chicago area artists and those that passed through to work with him (Chris Mills, Modest Mouse, Josh Ritter, Iron & Wine, many more).  His work on Buzzard is a testament to guitar rock records in the 70s that never made the commercial grade then, yet lived on to become touchstones for younger artists of today.  This is a beautiful, guitar rock record that Deck has made with the band of new ‘Nukes.’

One can’t help but feel that the late Alex Chilon’s spirit infiltrated the making of this record.  Even Marc Bolan’s hippie-glam-rock soul (T.Rex) makes a few influential appearances.  Queen-esque arpeggios dance around songs like, Earth to Aliens, and Your Lower Back.  The songs are raw, beautiful, and lyrically frustrating as well.  The characters  in Edwards lyrical world often tinker on domestic, self-destruction;  like ‘Alison’ does on the song,  Lunatic, Lunatic, Lunatic.

Alison’s a parable for the risks of being terrible.  She’s four foot two and crazy as a loon.  She hops the bar and keeps her cool.  She sheds her top at Marshalls Pool. Edwards pleads for the girl’s health, Someone save her from herself, someone save her from herself;  and get her home.

Helplessness solidifies the song’s un-ignorable & childishly, proud fact, She’s a lunatic.  Nothing more, nothing less.  This is what makes Edwards’ songs powerfully memorable and different than the next.  They’re rooted in strange midwestern soil few dare to dig deep through, often finding more of nothing and then coming back up for air to somehow share something special they creatively found.  That midwestern thing others search for  creatively is rooted in deep, dark soil;  nothing and then something.  Shh, a farmer’s secret.

Edwards characters are either coming of age, or going mad, searching for a restart button.  A nod, possibly, to becoming a young father himself during the making of this 3rd record.  A rebirth of sorts in all realms, creative and personal, are felt throughout Buzzard.   It is the sound a baby makes when it enters this world as another’s has left.  Beautiful and brutal, just like Edwards announces on the first track, Let’s make a baby, let’s make it evil. #3 is the smartest record ‘Margot’ has made to date.  It’s sexy and I’d f*ck it if I could;  it’s the gurl next door all grown up, inviting you to dinner;   September gurls, yep, and Buzzard.  (November, not ‘December boys got it bad.’)

Here’s to a large family, ‘Margot.’  There’s no need for condoms, please, keep on f*ckin’— especially if conception & rebirth sounds this good.

aw  |  andywhorehall.com

Margot & The Nuclear So and So's - BuzzardAndy Whorehall
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9 comments on "Margot & The Nuclear So and So’s – Buzzard"

  1. I don't like it. What I thought was great about their first two records was all the great instruments and sounds and production. I don't give a fuck about Richard Edwards other than the fact that he has a nice voice. He's made it about himself instead of the music.

  2. Andrew Whorehall on

    @Andy – fair enough. "… the great instruments and sounds and production." I think that's what I appreciated about most of the 2000s and rock music; especially the first 2 records, 'Margot' made. From a distance, I like the change in the music & production. Sparse is where it's at for me right now. Up close, maybe I'd feel otherwise as well. ; )

    It's the same problem I have with Wilco in the 2000s. Nothing, not one record, comes close to the energy and color Jay Bennett put on the table for them. "Wilco (The Album)" is about as close to a copout of a record that's not about music, and all about Tweedy's vision of his band, post- Bennett. Artists are flawed. It's a lifelong discovery; look at Dylan, he's put out as many stinkers as he has gems.

    Safe travels, from one Andy to another.
    aW

  3. Well, Andred Spirit, Wilco had occurred to me. Richard has shed his "Jay Bennett" and not for the better, just like Jeff. People break up, they make solo records, they use band names as commercially viable brands after the parting for the sake off survival.

    Richard and Jeff were, at the same time, both the masthead and the creative force of each band, in terms of songwriting, but a large part of the listener's joy depends on the textural canvas upon which the song is offered. Wallpaper behind the idea or integral to the idea? Probably the songs stand on their own. And who wouldn't want to hear George Harrison sing 'Within and Without You" with just an acoustic guitar and a candle next to him or some shit, but damn those sitars are nice!

    I understand the artist wants to distill and differentiate away from the clutches of the sounds around him, but selfishness should give way to contribution. A social experience was evident on the first two records and now it just sounds like a solemn plea. Relevant, yes. Enjoyable? Maybe. But the self-indulgence of stripping away, to this listener, has a decidedly exclusionary feel and I miss the trappings of variant sounds. Just add the texture, man and we'll sing your songs. Happily.

  4. I love Buzzard! I'm a fan of all the Margot records, but their newest has already secured its place as my favorite.
    IMO the reduce instrumentation works well for MNSS. There are still a lot of layers and textures in their new music. By sticking with a given sound textures for longer however, the abstract ones are given more emphasis (the weird feedback/vocal effects in Birds, saxophone solo in Tiny Vampire Robot, reverse guitar in Lunatic, Lunatic, Lunatic, etc. all provide very moving and powerful moments).
    I still love the songs and recordings from Margot's older entity; and I think part of the reason I fell in love with them initially was the use of unique instrumentation/compositions. However, sparse is in for me now too.. So I think its awesome the band's musical interests grew parallel with mine.
    Either way, I may be Mr. Andy's antithesis… I personally am a huge sucker for songwriting of Richard Edwards, no matter the accompaniment (although he certainly has been lucky in finding the talented, creative musicians that also make up MNSS – past/present/studio only).

    Cool website and review. Buzzard = Win!

  5. noPurchaseNecessary on

    what a bunch of children – i will bet everything i have on every naysayer coming around & loving the shit out of this obvious masterpiece in no time.

  6. I like Margot's nine piece trinket section.

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