Scout Niblett’s new EP kicks off with her unique rendition of live favourite “Uptown Top Ranking” (originally a hit on the UK pop charts in 1978 by reggae group Althea & Donna). As usual, she infuses the song with her own signature sense of passion & play, and carrying it all is her incredible voice which Venus magazine described as “a full-bodied caterwaul that could rival Gillian Welch, Neko Case, and even Johnny Cash.” The second song “Dare” is perhaps her most assured step toward pop music, motioning toward the table at the party where Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush are lost in conversation.
It’s been said before, and we don't mind repeating it - Scout Niblett is the sort of visionary that is on her own artistic path. She's one of those rare individuals who is unencumbered by the paths forged by those who foraged through the wilds before her. Her new album is I Am, the much anticipated follow-up to this Nottingham, England-native's debut Sweet Heart Fever (2001). On this dynamic full-length, Scout Niblett (nÈe Emma Louise Niblett) sashays from the three-piece rock songs to solo acoustic ukulele songs to what have become - since her I Conjure Series EP and many tours in the past two years - her signature drum-and-vocal songs. It's her confident vocals and voice as a songwriter which act as the linch-pin throughout the album (as captured to tape by Steve Albini at his Electrical Audio Studio), making the transitions between these styles seamless yet giving the album the pulse of an exquisite corpse, but with one author. Bringing to mind the youthful exuberance of early Noise Addict and Daniel Johnston, and the poetic wisdom of PJ Harvey, Niblett is a true free spirit who creates her own universe in song. Late into the album resides "Drummer Boy", an epic journey which boasts the most gargantuan minimalist guitars to ever be caught to tape. Landing somewhere between Bleach-era Nirvana for its rock and Sonic Youth for its artfulness. The song ends in her shredding her voice amidst a brief calm, which is followed by calamity. Her band features Chris Saligoe (Racebannon, Rapider Than Horsepower) on second guitar and Pete Schreiner (the Panoply Academy, Songs: Ohia, Turn Pale) on drums.
On the follow-up to her much-lauded debut Sweet Heart Fever, Scout Niblett has pretty much wiped the slate clean. A collection of songs that are minimal in their structure and arrangement, but complex in their passion of execution, I Conjure Series is a raw and bold excursion into the poetic universe of a vagabond of the new world. Comprised of seven songs on which she performs all the instruments (four are drums & vocals songs, two are guitar and vocals songs, and one is vocals-only) this mini-album was recorded live in Glasgow, Scotland at Chem19 Studios, just a train ride from Ms. Niblett's hometown of Nottingham, England. A new drummer, Scout Niblett comes from the Half Japanese school of music-making, one which heralds the amateur's capacity for imaginative experience. The result is a record that sounds like it takes as much from Elizabeth Cotten as it does Huggy Bear. I Conjure Series is a playful record, but also a very serious one. Songs are dressed innocently, but bear heavy emotional tidings. Her second full-length is being recorded by Steve Albini in Chicago, IL and is slated for an early 2003 release.
The beguiling Scout Niblett of Nottingham, England, is a somebody who is worth getting to know. First off, she's going to be around for some time; she's not the sort of lass who dips a toe in the water only to opt not to take a swim. Her debut album SWEET HEART FEVER is the first fruit of the artistic partnership with the inventive drummer Kristian Goddard, and is a pretty incredible & grand unveiling of her talent for the songcraft. Bringing to mind the harrowing intensity of PJ Harvey's debut DRY, Scout Niblett's first is an album whose exterior calm is betrayed by a fantastic inner storm -- the likes of which the legions of card-carrying members of the Trans-global Network of Damaged Souls love to immerse themselves in, if only to feel a little more potent & vital for a forty-minute stretch. SWEET HEART FEVER is just such an album that will keep those souls self-medicated. Indeed, the dreamlike landscape on which the fourteen songs are presented has a meandering stream of consciousness feel to it, with conventionally structured songs underscored by a few visceral song fragments that have an unresolved yet wholly intuitive feel to them. On "Miss My Lion", for example, Scout Niblett sings,''When we get home / it'll be like a party. / He's learned to move / real slowly. See how we move / sunlit and playful. / We have it all / but I miss my lion. He's already there / waiting to greet me.''For someone who can rock as hard as Scout Niblett (her live show is full of Sonic Youth-like discordant freak-outs), it must be said that it came as a bit of a surprise when she went and recorded the slow, moody and menacing SWEET HEART FEVER at Chem19 Studios in Glasgow, Scotland. Sure as hell, she'll turn heads of anyone who's ever raced across a bedroom floor to flip sides of a Sandy Denny & Fairport Convention, Van Morrison, Laura Nyro or even Liz Phair record.