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Scout Niblett

It's Up to Emma 

[Drag City]

Reviewed by Chris Auman

Scout Niblett It’s Up to Emma

Scout Niblett sought solace in Rollins Band for her seventh full-length, It’s Up to Emma. That’s not necessarily evident from the music. It’s more of a spiritual kinship and the drawing of strength and inspiration. Catharsis, as it were.

It’s Up to Emma, (Emma being Ms. Niblett's real first name) is a nine song dissection of a relationship gone all crumbly and awry. Very crumbly and very horribly awry. Each song on the record seems to beg a different question of how, why and what the fuck? There’s accusation, revelation, venom, confusion, wishful thinking and heartache all wrapped up in a handful of bare bones rock songs delivered with short stabs of pain and then longer stabs of anguish. There’s not much joy to be found here unless you find joy in being bummed out.

"Gun" is a menacing tune that promises the threat of a revenge served hot and steaming straight out of the barrel of a gun. Like most of the tracks, “My Man” is sparse, just guitar, some strings and Scout asking, "Could we have made it somehow?” Probably not is probably the answer. “Could This Possibly Be?” is another questioning tune in which the answer this time is, yes. 

"Second Chance Dreams” starts off gently enough only to have the anger simmer over in Scout’s acutely enunciated syllables, which then get underlined by a martial snare drum. “No Scrubs” is that “No Scrubs” with Scout straight up calling out homeboys for their overall lack of flyness. This is a record of someone dealing with some shit, going through some shit and feeling pretty shitty, but once it's out, then it's really over. One would hope.

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