Scout Niblett – ‘It’s Up To Emma’

Confessional songsmithery in the vein of PJ Harvey

Bearded guitar shop employees would no doubt scoff at Scout Niblett’s ‘technique’. Granted, her guitar/vocal/highly intermittent drumming approach is sparse, but deliberately so: if anyone tries to call this ‘lo-fi’ or ‘outsider music’ they’re being lazy or dimwitted. ‘It’s Up To Emma’ references both her real name and the single-minded spirit that fuels this sixth album. Songs average about five minutes, and tend to have one simple, good idea that doesn’t bear extensive repeating. At its best, though (‘Gun’, ‘All Night Long’), this album compares favourably to Smog, or PJ Harvey at her most skeletal – not least in the confessional lyrical sexuality.

Noel Gardner