Margot & the Nuclear So and So's are nothing if not prolific. Singer/songwriter Richard Edwards is constantly writing, and it seems just when they finish one album, he's already working on the next. When many of the bands most unique members were dismissed after the release and subsequent tour for Animal/Not Animal, the band's offerings from their ill-fated deal with Sony Music, many fans (including myself) were worried about the direction their sound would take. After all, much of what attracted me to Margot's music in the first place was the mishmash of different sounds and styles ranging from folk to country to balls-out rock, and this was largely due to specialist players like pianist Emily Watkins and trumpet player Hubert Glover.
Their first record with their new line-up, Buzzard, failed to completely alleviate my fears that Margot were headed down the path of being little more than "just another indie rock band." It had flashes of brilliance, but even in my original review I expressed an intense dislike for several tracks - a feeling which has only grown with time. Buzzard was, by far, the band's weakest effort to date, despite the fact that I'd always wanted to hear Margot rock out a bit more as they did on classics like "Quiet As A Mouse" (The Dust of Retreat) and "Pages Written On A Wall" (Not Animal).
Enter Rot Gut, Domestic, the group's officially sanctioned fourth album and second on Edwards' own Mariel Recordings imprint. Rot Gut is a decidedly more rock-oriented album, and a definitely more focused one. Gone are the echoes of Margot's past. Edwards has given himself fully to this new direction - though almost assuredly for the time being, as he is constantly exploring new ones - and produced an album that wouldn't have sounded out of place during the grunge rock boom of the 1990s, and you know what? I'm OK with that.