Plumbiferous Media

Buzzard – Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s

Sep 23rd 2010
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Buzzard - Margot and the Nuclear So and So'sMargot and the Nuclear So and So's
Score: 72

Indianapolis folk-rock band Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s (yes, with the apostrophe), formed in 2005 and fronted by Richard Edwards, released their fourth LP, Buzzard, on the 21st. Buzzard uses a deeper sound than some of the band’s earlier work, in a way that is both detrimental and complimentary to the So and So’s’s sound. Whatever the direction, with Buzzard it creates a fundamentally interesting album.

Edwards provides the majority of Buzzard‘s vocals, though he’s joined (and backed) by bandmate Tyler Watkins. Edwards displays a solid range over the length of Buzzard, from the high tones of “Birds” to his more standard, alternately delicate and forceful alt-rock vocals. The various gradations of Edwards’ voice generally work quite well, as he’s good at choosing the right tone for whatever music he might be performing. At the same time, however, when he’s closer to the alt-rock side of the spectrum, Edwards occasionally slips into a static sound, which contributes to occasional over-long unchanging sections. Happily, this is fairly rare; Edwards generally graces Buzzard with interesting sound.

There is a fundamentally interesting quality to Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s’s sound. The lines of Buzzard are creative, blend well, rarely become more than slightly repetitive, and generally provide the album with a very firm starting point. That’s where the problems begin. There are a number of tracks that are clearly quite well developed from start to finish, but the other tracks, to put it bluntly, do not. That bunch of tracks still has that strong start to a good sound, but nothing developing off of it. There aren’t really any memorable melodies or harmonies in Buzzard, just singing on top of instrumental backing. That’s also where The So and So’s starts to devolve towards a simple alt-rock sound, something much less unique and interesting as the sound with which the band began. The most noticeable problem with Buzzard, then, is that every progressive step taken with the sound of the album is undone at some later point.

The lyrics of Buzzard are less comprehensible than creative, but they generally manage to be interesting, understandable or not. Between lines like “No one knows the names of those birds / So why would you want me to” and the fairly amusing “You dance like a jerk whenever you dance / Your mother can’t stand you / Nobody can,” it’s clear that the So and So’s have put some thought into their writing, though it’s not quite poetic. Unfortunately, Buzzard has some lyrical weaknesses to go with its strengths. Repeatedly yelling “Let’s have a baby!” does not make for good lyrics, as amusing as it may be.

Buzzard is a fundamentally good album. There are numerous irritating problems, from the band’s tendency to remain uncommitted to any developments to clearly underdeveloped lyrics. But still, Buzzard would have been enjoyable even as a purely generic-alt album, and it really is quite a bit more than that. There’s little emotional depth, nor is there much diversity, but that’s not really the point of Buzzard As a simple, somewhat catchy set of songs, it’s an album that should make the So and So’s proud.

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