Rot Gut, Domestic
On Rot Gut, Domestic, Margot & The Nuclear So and So’s show greater refinement by getting more gritty and direct—a paradox in keeping with the band’s curious mix of painful introversion and engaging tunefulness. Frontman Richard Edwards realizes his angst-filled visions with new clarity and aggression here. Also evident is a deepened sense of compassion tempering the lyrics’ bleak tone. Especially notable along these lines are “Christ” (a piano ballad filled with skewed but nevertheless real reverence) and “Frank Left” (a haunting meditation on mortality set to acoustic guitar and brushed drums). The band’s varied musical attack drives home the conflicted feelings in the songs. With blistering electric guitar, “Books About Trains” paints a portrait of a housebound obsessive, while “Coonskin Cap” wraps a poignant cry of loneliness around a genial folksy tune. Edwards is so relentlessly thoughtful that the sheer rock muscle displayed in tracks like “Arvyndas Sabonis” and “Fisher of Men” is a real breakthrough. Of special interest is “Shannon,” a pain-wracked tale of maladjusted love with the crunch of vintage grunge.