Margot’s new album keeps it simple
Published: Monday, March 19, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 20:03
More than six years since they started making us cringe, Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s have done it again – not that we’d ever want them to stop. Their latest studio album, Rot Gut, Domestic, plays on all of the bizarre styling that they have adhered to in the past, while discovering something just new enough to keep an audience.
One of the most powerful aspects of this album is its ability to remain powerful while still being almost too simple. Released on Mariel Recordings on March 13, Rot Gut, Domestic works hard to maintain an indie-feel, while still drawing on the mainstream influences of past rock icons.
A prime example is a track entitled “Books About Trains.” The electric guitar embellishments in the background scream Pixies, while still sounding thin enough to remind listeners of past Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s (MTNSS). The track opens up with an unearthly, eerily dark stampede of compressed chords, but quickly takes on the cute quality that the vocals push in the verse.
This track, like many others on the album, does not have anything particularly mind-blowing about it – but who says it needs to? Four studio albums later, they must be doing something right if they’re still on the “indie” radar.
Tracks like the album-opener, titled “Disease Tobacco Free,” utilize the “wall-of-sound” style that is so common in today’s music. Still, the raw, electric guitar-based emotion of the track is usually what a band sounds like during its first album or two; by album five, this stage in musical development should be a thing of the past.
Still, the sloppy sound is often to the benefit of MTNSS. Take “Shannon,” for example, where the grungy, sloppy guitar is remarkably hot for such a simple track. The trippy effects seem to slide in and out of consciousness, while screams and quiet words slip in and out of the foreground.
“Fisher of Men” is another example of how this band can make slimy work in their favor, with the Pixies-like intro that leads unexpectedly into a lightly mainstream verse.
MTNSS make “simple” work for them throughout most of Rot Gut, Domestic. “Prozac Rock” is proof that music doesn’t need to be musically intellectual, or particularly interesting in any way.
“A Journalist Falls In Love With Deathrow Inmate #16” takes listeners back to the thin sound that past albums can be characterized by. The simple bass line compliments the subtle female vocal trimmings – and the volume travels in and out like the tide for the length of the track.
More often than not on Rot Gut, Domestic, the in-your-face synthesizers sound less like an attempt to annoy, and more like a genuine depiction of emotion – something hard to come by, in today’s software-music world. If there’s one thing that this band exudes, it is honesty.
It may not be ingenious, but pretty much every facet of the album radiates truth. It’s like they just figured out what strange sounds they could squeeze out of their amps, and how best to use these sounds to make their listeners smile – and, if that’s what they’re being graded by, then A+.