Scout Niblett: It's Up to Emma (Drag City) review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Issue #46 - June/July 2013 - Charli XCXScout Niblett

It’s Up to Emma

Drag City

Jun 25, 2013 Scout Niblett Bookmark and Share

Few records this year are likely to come from as emotionally stark territory as Scout Niblett’s harrowing It’s Up to Emma. The singer sheds herself of what little accoutrement she’s had in the past; these songs are Niblett, her guitar, her drummer, and little else. The “Emma” deferred to in this album’s title is a reference to the singer’s real name; the self-reliance theme runs thick on this disc.

Emma is personal, introspective work, from the heavy strums of “Gun,” in which Niblett angrily confronts a departed lover with the threat of violence, straight into the regretful “Can’t Fool Me Now” and “Second Chance Dreams.” She closes with the howling rush of “What Can I Do?,” where she does double duty on vocal tracks and invites in a string section for her resplendent finale. It’s a welcome release after eight draining tracks.

The album’s most subversive moment comes near its end, as a cover of TLC’s “No Scrubs.” Niblett coos her way through the late ‘90s R&B hit with a completely straight face, accompanied vocally by Emil Amos. Never has this ridiculously silly song come from such a sad, heartfelt place. This scrub is a guy who can’t get no love from Scout; the way she sings it, you may actually start to feel bad for the guy. (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10


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