Woman On Fire: “The Calcination Of Scout Niblett”

After almost ten years of career and four full-length albums, British-born singer-songwriter Emma Louise Niblett paired up with Steve Albini once again to record some of her darkest and most straightforward tracks, thus radically parting with the folk tag that caracterized her early works.

The Calcination Of Scout NiblettWith Scout Niblett’s newest album, pressing play feels much like stumbling upon PJ Harvey’s Rid Of Me and 4-Tracks Demos some 16 years ago. “Just Do It” slithers in like a slow and heavy wave of raw energy. Unrefined arrangements, unpolished voice, and heavily saturated guitar. No drums, like on most of the album, but hell this is rock’n'roll. The title track continues in the same direction. Greasy and rusty, bowels and lead, dust and saliva, this is the lady’s “self-made sweat box / This is where (she) takes it all off”. “Cherry Cheek Bomb”’s Hallelujah will make your hair stand on your head before providing the opus’ most advanced drum part. Grunge roots obviously, but a distinctive attitude, a grain that cannot be heard or felt anywhere else.

Listen to “The Calcination Of Scout Niblett”

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

From “Kings”‘ throbbing rhythm to “Lucy Lucifer”’s mind-numbing linearity, from the disenchanted lyrics of “Ripe With Life”, to the deafening immensity of “Strip Pluto”, each track will cut you a little more from your civilized self and lay another layer of plastic wrap between your fishy eyes and the rest of the world. With its lo-blues feel and roaring guitar riffs, finale “Meet and Greet” is as heady and intoxicating as a dark nightly road movie. Think Lost Highway. Uncertain, deconstructed, and oppressive. “When you gonna learn to play that thing?” The answer is a shapeless guitar solo that ranges from soft indigo vibratos to flashes of purple sustained chaos. And then silence.

Introspective without being hermetic, direct without being exhibitionist, The Calcination Of Scout Niblett is as obsessive and addictive as it is disarmingly unelaborated. Nothing is forced out and nothing is changed, even though her previous releases may have sounded lighter, if not naiver. Howling and strumming with the heated and apathetic sweet-fuck-it-allness and looks of a rebel teen, Niblett simply delivers her strongest album so far.

Buy The Calcination Of Scout Niblett from Drag City.

Scout around for Scout on tour through Europe:

May 9, 2010 in Brussels (Botanique)
May 10, 2010 in Amsterdam (Bitterzote)
May 11, 2010 in Schorndorf (Manufaktur)
May 12, 2010 in Gent (Vooruit)
May 14, 2010 in Frankfurt (Yellowstage)
May 15, 2010 in Bremen (Spedition)
May 16, 2010 in Aachen (AZ)
May 17, 2010 in Cologne (Subway)
May 19, 2010 in Oslo (Cafe Mono)
May 20, 2010 in Stockholm (Hornstrull Strand)
May 21, 2010 in Malmo (Debaser)
May 22, 2010 in Berlin (Hebbel Am Ufer)
May 23, 2010 in Munich (59t01)
May 24, 2010 in Vienna (Arena)
May 26, 2010 in Lucerne (Suedpol)
May 28, 2010 in Barcelona (Primavera Sound Festival)
May 29, 2010 in Averio (Teatro Aveirense)
May 31, 2010 in London (Borderline)
Jun 1, 2010 in Glasgow (Stereo)
Jun 2, 2010 in Manchester (Ruby Lounge)
Jun 3, 2010 in Nottingham (Spanky Van Dykes)
Jun 4, 2010 in Bristol (The Fleece)
Jun 5, 2010 in Brighton (The Freebutt)
Jun 7, 2010 in Paris (Point Ephémère)
Jun 8, 2010 in Dijon (La Nef, cour intérieure)

Dec 3, 2010 at the ATP Nightmare Before Christmas curated by GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR (feat. Neurosis, the Ex, Tim Hecker, Marissa Nadler…)