Margot & the Nuclear So and So's
The Dust of Retreat


5.0
classic

Review

by Bitstream USER (21 Reviews)
June 25th, 2009 | 71 replies | 4,634 views


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Stunning on every front, this is aesthetics put into sound, creating human feeling behind every song.

6 of 6 thought this review was well written

I had a bit of an intervention with music. My teachers thought I was getting into far too much hardcore, and I decided they might be right. I resolved to try and find some calmer things to expand my horizons, but that’s where the problem came in. I was used to the intricacies of technical metal, the crazy patterns and beauty that could come out with a few experienced artists armed with drop-C guitars and some good distortion. Then, one night, I came across this band on the iTunes store. I sampled every song and some chord was struck in me, saying, “This is the one. Get this now.”

That night, I walked around town with my faithful canine in the snow and dark for three hours with the CD on repeat. Sweet Jesus, that was a good feeling.

The band has a full, rich sound, which is almost inevitable when you belong to an eight piece band. From Indianapolis, Indiana, they focus musically on an acoustic and vocal driven sound, while amazingly intricate arrangements fill the background. In literary terms, the sound is the equivalent of walking through an art museum and understanding each piece as if you made it yourself.

The CD begins with some ambient noise. The surprise here is it isn’t one of those fantastic intro fillers that have become oh-so popular with the kids these days. From the second the first guitar appears over the noise, the magic starts to unfold. Slowly, a shaker, a piano, a violin, a cymbal roll, and a bass settle in overtop of it, all subtly working to get your head bobbing. And when Richard Edwards opens his mouth, the album really begins to show it’s colors. Each instrument works towards a beautiful sound, perfectly in key, memorable, and intelligent.

The aforementioned vocal wankery is definitely the standout point of this band. That wording may or may not bring up mental images of Rody Walker spazzing all over a microphone, but either way the phrase does Richard Edwards no justice. Without this man singing, the band would be a headless; hardly operational, and most certainly not successful. From the depressing crooning of “A Sea Chanty of Sorts” to the near voice cracks in “Paper Kitten Nightmare”, he establishes himself as the metaphorical icing on the cake. Never falling behind the organizational wizardry of the band, he is another purposeful layer that molds seamlessly into the beautiful sound.

Each song has a distinctive feel. For example, “Barfight Revolution, Power Violence” has energetic, rock-ish vibes, while “Light on a Hill”has the uncanny power to depress any single happy occasion. I don’t suggest you test that theory. The songs convey clear emotion, making this a thoroughly human record. In reality, that’s the greatest thing any work of music can do.

Lyrically, the album is a gem, each line being delivered beautifully, placed perfectly with the music. Harmony, practicality, and aesthetics were all taken into account with the vocals, and the lyrics themselves are nothing short of beautiful.

“On a freezing Chicago street we shook…
Your hands were trembling from all those pills you took,
And we got drunk on cheap red wine in a paper cup.

And I was barely awake when you got home,
And climbed yourself into bed wearing cheap perfume.
And Sarah screamed, “Your every breath is a gift.
If you weren't so selfish then you might want to live.”

So if your lover should leave, don't get too sad.
And don't compose epic poems to win her back,
'Cause when your bird has flown, she'll never return home.
Though all your life you'll wait she never will return”

While the songs don’t thrust themselves in your face and scream, “LOOK AT ME, I’M INTRICATE”, the effect is easily reached. Every layer is complimentary, from the barely-there piano, to the subtle climbing of an unidentifiable string instrument. If all these sub-par analogies aren’t making any sense to you, just be reassured it sounds pretty. That’s pretty much all this CD is.

The aesthetics behind this album are astonishing. From the intellectual arrangements, the musical wizardry, and the overall beauty, this album deserves a classic. I can’t even think of flaws for the album, let alone a reason to describe it as less than it is. It’s beauty, pumping through machines. And that, as music lovers, is the very most we can ask for.



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user ratings (135)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
Eric (2)
Unceasingly contrived and self-aggrandizing to the point of unlistenability....

Sean Milo (4.5)
I did a sick, sick thing to my love....

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Comments:Add a Comment 
TheGoddamnBatman
June 25th 2009



404 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I was told to check them out but never get around to actually do it. Now I'm interested again. Very
well written review, man.

Bitstream
June 25th 2009



296 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks, I tried really hard to explain how great this is. But I meant to finish it a few days ago and some other guy beat me to the punch.

TheGoddamnBatman
June 25th 2009



404 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

First songs... this remembers me A LOT Lydia. But better. Still, you should check out Lydia too. And better yet, Stars.

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
June 25th 2009



3766 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great review dude, ill check this out

edit: definitely getting a stars/lydia vibe from this

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor

Yotimi
June 25th 2009



6473 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Quiet as a Mouse is really good.

Digging: Millie and Andrea - Drop The Vowels

TREO5
June 25th 2009



1069 Comments


I just bought this am only on the fourth song but hoooooly shit it's so good already. I really like song number 3.

TREO5
June 25th 2009



1069 Comments


Wait I'm lying...I got not animal.... did I get their new one? Well, if this is as good as Not Animal than holy shit, I got some good music in store for me.

Bitstream
June 25th 2009



296 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This blows Not Animal out of the water.

You will be shocked.

TREO5
June 25th 2009



1069 Comments


Oh jeez... well Not Animal was the only one they had there, and it's pretty damn good considering I'm usually not into this type of music. Closest I'll usually get is Pedro the lion, Dear and the Headlights, Snake the Cross the Crown... stuff like that. But this is damn good. Guess I need to check this one out as well.

Bitstream
June 25th 2009



296 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Not Animal doesn't even compare to this one. The following albums these guys put out are lacking the emotion behind this record. It'll shock you. They're like a toned down version of The Dear Hunter, at least in the sense of theatric composing and arrangements. But they are mellower, more depressing, and more focused into emotion.

mvdu
June 25th 2009



603 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I like Not Animal a lot, but will agree that this is a little better.

Bitstream
June 25th 2009



296 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This band is just amazing. Not Animal and Animal were great, this just raised the bar too damn high.

Shrapnel94
June 25th 2009



2213 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Good review. This album really is amazing.

Shrapnel94
June 25th 2009



2213 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Get to it.

Bitstream
June 25th 2009



296 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I wish this would get featured just so everyone would check it out. Underrated band.

Bitstream
June 25th 2009



296 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I wish this would get featured just so everyone would check it out. Underrated band.

TREO5
June 25th 2009



1069 Comments


Jesus, how had I missed out on this band? This was never my genre I guess. Recs for similiar bands that are good anyone.

Shrapnel94
June 25th 2009



2213 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah I put these guys on like 5 lists and telling everyone to listen to them. Definitely checking out their discography.

Bitstream
June 26th 2009



296 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Maybe if we spam comments, people will all see it on the recent activity list.

wasil
June 26th 2009



5 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

loving this album!



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