Chicago-based songwriter Richard Edwards and the loosely collected group of his friends making up various incarnations of Margot & the Nuclear So and So's have been bringing his songs to life since 2005, moving from meticulous chamber pop styles into more Americana and blue-collar rock-leaning moods with later albums. Sling Shot to Heaven is the fifth full-length from the band, put to 2" analog tape over a series of months in the group's home studio. As Edwards and the band neared a decade of touring, recording, and prolific output as a hard-working indie rock outfit, themes of adulthood and reflection fill the album, making it a more mature and patient statement than we've heard from the band previously. The sweetness of long-term partnership and love is touched on in "When You're Gone," while "Go to Sleep You Little Creep" is a coy but touching dialogue between a rambunctious son avoiding bedtime and a weary father trying to wind down after a hard day of work. Edwards reflects on the restlessness of youth and his history of hard traveling, ruminating on these things as memories of a different time. Musically, the album follows the same stylistic trends of fourth album Rot Gut, Domestic, turning in bright production and thoughtful lighter-toned introspective indie rock modes à la Wilco or Ryan Adams. The home-recorded pace of the album comes through in the considered production choices of the songs, with each subtle turn sounding deliberate but not overthought. The result is a relaxed, conversational album with stronger songs than some of the band's earlier efforts, looking over concepts of aging gracefully without succumbing to the clichés that often come along with such trains of thought.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas