Scout Niblett CD reviewed by Luc Rodgers

Music Reviews
Scout Niblett CD reviewed by Luc Rodgers
Nov 29, 2007, 06:25

Scout Niblett - This Fool Can Die Now

SCOUT NIBLETT This Fool Can Die Now CD

Aside from this opening statement, Cat Power will not be mentioned again in this review, and its use here as an adjective to describe female singer/songwriters is lazy and shortsighted on my part so please forgive me, won't you? Whew…

Portland-by-way-of-Nottingham, England artist Scout Niblett has made a name for herself as “that girl who plays the drums and sings by herself.” What is being overlooked, though, is the power and nakedness of the songs themselves, especially since now she is focusing more on guitar and leaving the rhythm to more deserving hands. On This Fool Can Die Now, her fourth full length, the songs explode in a fullness and personality not yet seen in her catalog.

Opener “Do You Want To Be Buried With My People” introduces the listener to the official duet man of the 21st century, Bonnie ‘Prince' Billy. Where her voice is sometimes explosive, the southern comfort of Billy's steadfast tones smooth and melt everything together to become a classic dual conversation. Feelings of adulation to be able to witness such a special event mix with uneasiness as one thinks, “Should I be here?” Yes, you must. “Kiss,” the first single, again brings the back and forth promises and wonderings of a couple in love. But it is here that we see the artist Niblett comfortable in form, execution, and strength. The layered background answers to Billy's honest questions haunt the room with calm angels and warmth evident in not only feel but also outlook. With a powerful introduction such as these two numbers, the rest of the album is almost guaranteed to ring clean and true.

“Moon Lake” sees a return to the classic “Niblett-as-drummer-and-singer” form. The beats are elementary, yes, but the overall innocence is impossible to turn off or away from; a mousy, smiling classmate telling her feelings the only way that she knows how. It is laughable to the heartless but unmistakably brilliant to a multi-tiered, honest person.

“Let Thine Heart Be Warmed” explodes with a soft/loud, mid-nineties ferocity (Nirvana and Mudhoney are listed as long-time influences). The unsuspecting barrage of rock fury reminds one of fellow brit Rose Kemp with her Sonic Youth-esque “Violence” sitting smack dab in the middle of the otherwise calm A Hand Full of Hurricanes (2007, One Little Indian Records). It does resurface again, though, in “Your Last Chariot,” “Nevada,” and “Hide And Seek,” giving the album more of a balance, after all, rather than a mere cough to wake up the listener.

The easiness and listenability of each song after song make the once-difficult trek into the Niblett psyche enjoyable and completely, and nakedly, understandable. The ideas are delivered quickly and patience, once a much-needed tool for deciphering the lovely dame, comes without effort through this spotless collection. Standouts “Yummy,” “Dinosaur Egg” (a poem by David Shrigley), and “Comfort You” all weep and creak but also showcase a songwriter in her prime.

Enjoying what she does best and building upon an already fascinating catalogue, Scout Niblett has topped, and toppled, all preconceived notions. This is the record that will break her apart from peers while simultaneously morphing her from “female singer/songwriter” to just “singer/songwriter.” [Too Pure]

-Luc Rodgers

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