Scout Niblett: It's Up to Emma
(Drag City, 5/21/13)
Dour yet inspiring, Scout Niblett’s music has the visceral impact of splinter removal: it’s bloody, and it may hurt, but it’s therapeutic. On It’s Up to Emma, her sixth full album, Niblett bares her soul in songs that convey the raw intensity of personal shakeups.
The album opens with “Gun,” a song that instills terror, pity, and rage in the listener. In a microcosm of the album’s seething catharsis, deadly vengeance is threatened on a cheating lover. From thereon, each song branches with emotional pitfalls. Even TLC’s “No Scrubs” is taken from playful “fuck off” to stripped-down anthem. As usual, the production is spare, with interspersed beats and strings accompanying Niblett’s powerful voice and bluesy rock riffs — yielding a beautiful and morose collection.