Scout Niblett

Kidnapped By Napped by Neptune

Published August 25, 2005.Scout NiblettKidnapped By Napped by Neptune (Too Pure)Comparisons to Cat Power and PJ Harvey dotted the critical landscape of her first two albums, which only helped Nottingham, England's Scout Niblett become somewhat of a darling in the eyes of critics and indie fans. With her quiet, pixie-like voice that bursts into powerful cursing inflections overtop a gently plucked electric guitar or a hollow snare drum beat, she evokes the image of a pretty but volatile schoolgirl. The one that will chew your head off if you so much as treat her with even a hint of disrespect. Kidnapped by Neptune (her second release with Steve Albini at the controls) finds Niblett turning up the fire and brimstone, reaching for greater expression from her instruments. They are her voice, a drum kit and an electric guitar in stark, minimalist arrangements a less-is-more effect both remarkable and unsettling.Lullaby for Scout in 10 Years is purely guttural in execution the quiet moments spontaneously combust, the fires doused in an instant. As is Valvoline, a song that finds her repeatedly singing I am the driver with ever-increasing urgency over a dry, stick-in-your-throat beat. And Handsome, with its distorted blues romp that treats quiet and loud with equal amounts of contempt, would make Jack White blush. While some may hear an eccentric and misguided overstatement, it would be an unjust dismissal for what is an unique aesthetic. Scout Niblett is not an artist who will just fall in your lap. Nor will this album which, after repeated listens, reveals itself with increasing redress. —Dave Hayden

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