Margot & the Nuclear So and So's are a beguiling group with a bizarre name and music to match. Frontman Richard Edwards croons haunting ballads of a bleak Midwestern sprawl of whiskey, women and neuroses, perpetual gloom and paranoia, love and innocence. Despite all that, the band doesn't take themselves too seriously—the name "Margot" is in honor of Edwards' non-existent daughter and "Nuclear" is a tribute to former President George W. Bush's attempts to pronounce the word.
Elaborate arrangements focus around synth/guitar/fiddle, and songs incorporate folk, Americana and psychedelic nuances with indie sensibilities. Edwards' voice quivers with a subtle mania when he sings "Cold, Kind, and Lemon Eyes," and "Holy Cow" as the music drifts between fragile and jarring. "Broadnipple is Burning" is progressive, almost anthemic, while "A Children's Crusade on Acid" is tripped out. The band pays attention to detail, the result being multi-layered and complex songs. No filler here.
Whatever Midwestern vein of self-deprecation and drunken honesty that Saddle Creek pioneers Connor Oberst and Tim Kasher tapped into, Margot has hit something similar. With three albums of material to select from, it will be interesting to see how they replicate the complexity of their studio material live. And if you enjoy pensive poetry with a unique mesh of sound and a touch of the bizarre, Margot deserves a listen.
Tuesday, May 12, 9 p.m. with Everything Now, $8 adv., $10 door. Neurolux, 111 N. 11th, 208-343-0886.