Margot & The Nuclear So and So’s at Lincoln Hall | Concert preview
The Midwest band wallows in hooky misery.
Rot Gut, Domestic, the latest from Margot & The Nuclear So and So’s, continues the Midwest band’s strange descent into territory that’s at once bleak and melodic. The group’s steadfast, downcast indie-rock is still pinned to a pop latticework, but the Nukes continue to push further away from the playful chamber embellishments that once threatened to pigeonhole the group. That was before Richard Edwards, the band’s frontman and songwriter, delivered the beautifully damaged collection Buzzard, which split the difference between innocence and ennui.
Rot Gut continues in that newly dejected trajectory. Edwards, who true to the album’s title was in fact suffering from chronic stomachaches during the writing of the record, sings about “Prozac Rock,” why he hates his friends, being unafraid of the devil. Inevitably, it’s reminiscent of another songwriter hobbled by gut rot. (Hint: rhymes with Schmurt Schmobain.) Compounding that is John Congleton’s beefy production, a marked change for the group—its first disc without Brian Deck behind the board since its 2006 debut. Between the gnarled guitars, crushing snare drum and occasionally anguished yelps, it calls to mind a more tuneful In Utero.
When Edwards lets his guard down, it’s to flash a comforting wink, as on the Replacements-esque “Coonskin Cap,” offering a brief respite from the misery he wears so convincingly.