The first song with Scout Niblett I ever heard was “Kiss” that she did together with Bonnie Prince Billy. They are since then inseparable in my head and belong to the same clan of musicians that you could very very roughly cram into the folk pile but that always squirm and break out of there. Scout Niblett is more of a Rocker and her new album shows that with heavy guitars and very dark songs that are hauntingly beautiful. Even the softer songs like “My Man” seem to harbour dark secrets and depths that will grab you if you are not careful. Do you know the legends of the lake fairies, that will appear as lights or beautiful women under the water but if you get too close they drag you down? “It’s Up To Emma” feels a little bit like the moment before you see the bright lights transform into the ghostly and ugly face of despair, the short moment when you already sense that something is off but it’s too late to leave.
There is a brilliance in the concentration on Nibletts voice and her guitar, even if there are some strings and drums involved, they always linger in the background, leaving the sound raw and dirty, you could cut yourself if you don’t take care. Some of the songs (“Second Chance Dreams”) hint at a young Niblett listening to the old heroes of fem-wave/punk in the 80s that mingled great melodies with an aggressive performance so you never can drift off but have to stay on your toes. If you ever need something to listen to late at night during a car drive that makes you attentive and paranoid, this is it!
For good measure, let’s bask in the glory of this song: