Scout Niblett
Kidnapped by Neptune
2005
B



scout Niblett sounds hurt but profoundly alive. She probably should have been the one to wed Kurt Cobain and, together, the couple could have married their love of Leadbelly, the Meat Puppets, and Bessie Smith into a rebellion against computer-generated rock. She plays the blues as filtered through the best punk rock. She is confessional but leaves enough distance so that you don't have to be in "a mood" to listen. She grabs and pulls but sometimes simply walks away, and that's when you want to follow.

On Kidnapped by Neptune, the songs crash and burn, or slowly sputter to life, with an intensity that sounds something like a Nirvana meets Throwing Muses demo—Niblett’s someone you move closer to, in order to interpret the mumbling, and then she lashes out at you. Time signature changes within songs are a staple here; nothing can be properly expressed without establishing repeatedly that there are many ways and turns to expression. Howling is encouraged. Whispering is de rigueur. Moaning helps to soften the edges. All the darkness and longing is in a day's work.

"It starts with a sound of a lonely girl / Rockin', rockin' it, rockin' her own world / Shakin', shakin' it, shakin' her heart down," she sings on the opener, "Hot to Death." Nothing could better describe the record than those lines. This is an artist with a vision, and that picture sounds like it is leaping directly from her subconscious. That's not to say this is a masterwork. Kidnapped by Neptune could be easily be cut by one-third. Niblett's fondness for song-structure quirkiness and lyric repetition are too much over the course of sixty-plus minutes and fifteen songs. Said lyric repetition can be seen as a power affect, but with her strong imagery, one wants more words, not the same phrase to underscore a thought.

Production-wise, Steve Albini's work on this CD is both excellent and exciting. Turn it up loud and see how it sounds and you’ll nearly believe that Scout Niblett is in your home or in your car—something that Albini prides himself upon, but doesn’t always achieve.

Despite the overbearing length and the sometimes lazy lyrics, Kidnapped by Neptune is a strong release in a year of strong releases. This is raw, damaged, modern day folk-blues-punk rock with a vengeance and, if you're lucky, you'll find yourself on the receiving end of hearing it. Don't flinch. The scars will heal.

Buy it at Insound!


Reviewed by: Jill Labrack
Reviewed on: 2005-09-02
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