The second (or second and third, depending on how you look at it) Margot & The Nuclear So And So's album is many things, but fun listening, it isn't. Apparently the collective ended up in a face-off with Epic over which tracks should be included. The compromise is Animal!—the band's preferred version, a vinyl/digital release—and Not Animal, for mainstream consumption. The dedication of bandleader Richard Edwards is admirable, but it's hard to hear the difference: It's two albums (with some overlap) of gloomy indie-rock stew. Margot is from Indianapolis, but it sounds like Broken Social Scene's members all broke up with their significant others and held a jam session on Saddle Creek Road. Morose, impeccably arranged, and monochromatic from start to finish, both incarnations of Animal are a perfect synthesis of indie-rock circa 2008. That isn't a compliment; it's hard to tell how such intelligent music goes wrong. Margot sounds like every zeitgeist band, yet doesn't measure up to any. The collective named itself after a Wes Anderson movie, but sounds more like a wan B-list Sundance imitator.
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