Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Patrick Stolley
The things that we must never forget are the things that we learn when we're swimming in booze, when the amber that curtains our eyes is clarity, when all of the painful decisions that have been made by or for us are delivered like breakfast in bed - at three in the morning. Hardly the only state that Richard Edwards finds himself in when he's writing his music, it's the state that produces some translucence that is befitting of government grants for the betterment of all society. These inward studies that he performs with great attention and thorough calculations suggest that when the moment is right, we will learn, the whole darkest before the dawn thing comes into play on enough occasions to have formed the famed phrase.
When we're having trouble not slurring our sentences and when we feel that the bottle is all ears and no one else is, that's maybe when we most need a pad of paper and a writing utensil and a tape recorder. It won't be pretty, just like the Hasselhoff hamburger video was disgustingly unpretty, but damn it if the bare-chested, world-famous television sensation didn't learn a thing or two from the ugly episode. Edwards, the lead singer for Indianapolis band Margot & The Nuclear So and So's, is a magnifying glass, or more so, he uses the thick end of the dark, brown bottles as all the magnifying glass he needs. He appreciates all of the luxuriance that a good buzz provides and then searches until he finds the better buzz, which usually takes him off into the territories of willful abandon and withdrawal, into the recesses of the subconscious where it's a nudist colony for everything that he's ever bore witness to, thought, felt or experienced. Layers of paint are thinned off, stripped bare of all their concealing color. Shrouds are lifted and then torn into shreds and what's left in the wake of this dramatic unveiling is a priceless shivering, a shimmering ball of conclusion or the next closest thing.
All of the Margot songs are epics and that might mean that Edwards' life is epic - epic in its depiction and execution, or just epic in whatever definition you'd like to use. His stories aren't all autobiographical - as he states that he tried to write a concept album about the Heaven's Gate cult - but it feels easy to graft the portions that are true to the bone out of the debris. All the talk of whiskey breath is his and there's no disputing it. He has a way of presenting his life in a way that makes it feel like someone reflecting on all of the little things while sitting in a vast, high-ceilinged room - in a mansion, perhaps - with a trusted pet curled either at his feet or in his lap, depending on the variety of preferred pet. A pipe is lit and puffed at random, in thoughtful gulps while supplemented with a lonesome bottle of bourbon or brandy - the solid bottle tinking the lip of the small glass as the refill takes place. There are constant refills and there is a surplus of understanding that happens in this room that may or may not have a fireplace.
These songs seem to be written during longer days than normal, when all he has is time and no where to go, as if there's an all-day soaker of a rain dismantling an afternoon, making it impossible not to think long and hard, casting a gray sky all the way into the house. He tackles family and sad love with the same kind of electricity that have helped to make this band one of the most intriguing pop outfits on the American scene - albeit one of the slowest-moving. The band acts like a friendly storm cloud, just ready and anxious to open up and turn out the lights for a day then be on its way. Whether you like it or not, it's always refreshing. They make it that way. When the salt hits the open wounds, Edwards gets to soothing you with faint words in your ears, letting you be gladly distracted. You wonder who's there for him to do the same and realize that he does it all for himself with the help of man's best foe.