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 The Magnet, Liverpool

(reviewed by Phil Newall)


I went to see Scout Niblett having only heard two tracks, but having read a couple of favourable reports in the more crucial press, so really I didn't know what to expect. Though I reckon this is what it all about; searching out potential talent, catch it while its raw and in its infancy. In fairness to Scout, she not exactly brand new, she released an album (rare as rocking horse shit) back in 2001 'Sweet Heart Fever' on Secret Canadian Records which was an introduction to her world, and what an odd place it must be...

What you get is Scout, whose parents thankfully christened her Emma Louise Niblett. Scout is mostly a one woman show, she drums, strums and screeches and has been described as 'Dusty Springfield on acid playing Nirvana', apparently the moniker Scout coming from the film 'To Kill a Mocking Bird'.

Scout ambles onto stage wearing her customary wig and launches into what can only be described as blues tinged art rock mixed with fucked up folk and a bit of reggae thrown in for good measure. She hammers alone on the drum kit screaming "We're all gonna die, we're all gonna die" on 'Your Beat Kicks Back Like Death'- holding the audience fixed by its collective throats, as she wails in a childlike style.

What Scout really does is deliver, she throws herself headlong into each number, many coming from her recently released, and Steve Albini produced Too Pure 10" 'I Am' - 'Drummer Boy' in particular standing out. I have no idea what she's on or is about as she repeats endlessly "I am an emergency vehicle, I am an emergency vehicle" - does she harbour some childhood desire to be an ambulance? Who cares, certainly not I; this woman will confuse, and confound, but she will certainly grab you by the balls and shake up any conceptions of how a singer/songwriter should perform. Parallels brought to mind are possibly PJ Harvey, but its way off the mark, Scout is so much further 'out there' you can barely see her. These are deceptively simple songs, they need; to be its just her alone, on in this case the small Magnet stage, shielded by her guitar and drums.

I reckon you should see her now, her star is rising and sadly I reckon this level of energy will be the trade off, not due to a lack of raw talent but to continuously deliver with this much intensity will take its toll.

Phil Newall

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