Scout is finally establishing her own musical identity.
Robert Jackman 2007
Make what you will of Scout Niblett’s voice, but you can’t help but admire her confidence in it. Sure that she can survive the harshest of aural terrains, the Brighton-born songstress is quite happy to pit her vocals against jutting, angry drums and bursts of obtrusive guitar. Unlike other female singers who turn to computer production programs to sweeten their harmonies, Scout uses them to make her music coarser.
It’s an effect which takes some getting used to, but it certainly gives Scout’s music a raw, spontaneous feel. And few could deny there’s character in the way the thick, sludgy power-chords strike without warning, rousing any headphone-listeners lulled by Scout’s murmur, or the way the naked drum-rhythms potter nervously, as if they share our uncertainty at what might be coming next.
This Fool Can Die Now is Niblett’s fourth album, bolder and broader than her previous releases. While the cyclonic buzz of “Hide and Seek” or the crowded din of “Let Thine Heart Be Warmed” might sound like another tribute to Niblett’s hero Kurt Cobain, tracks like “Baby Emma” see Scout let loose with uninhibited wail, showing a childlike aversion to grungy angst.
What holds this album together is a sense that Scout is finally establishing her own musical identity. As for those irritating transatlantic comparisons to Cat Power, This Fool Can Die Now won’t kill them off overnight, but at least it’ll give people a bit more to talk about.