Photo by Roderick Trestrail.
Ok, first of all, Emma Louise “Scout” Niblett doesn’t sound like Cat Power, so stop saying that. Comparisons abound, and they irritate Scout, whose voice is breathy and kind of the same pitch as CP. But the spontaneity and wonder in Scout’s strumming, lullaby singing, screaming, and drum pounding come from a quite different place than Chan Marshall’s bare-soul ballads. If Chan is Lacan (the talking cure), Scout is Arthur Janov (primal scream therapy).
“Gymnast,” the first song on Niblett’s new I Conjure Series EP, falls apart like a big emotional Jenga. She explained from her home in Nottingham, UK: “I fuck up on the record. A gymnast just leaps into things and has to be quite bold in their movements.” Other song topics include Linus from Peanuts and listening to Rimsky at home.
Scout’s music comes from a cycle of inspiration, boredom, and spontaneity. Case in point: the tracks on I Conjure that feature only drums and singing. “I got a bit tired of playing the guitar, and I just had a desire to beat the shit out of some drums. Then I started singing along and I thought, ‘This is nice.’” Also, she learned enough Japanese from her friend Akiko to sing two songs on the EP in that language.
And as if all that weren’t ballsy enough, the whole EP was recorded in just one take. “I don’t like to do overdubs,” Scout demurs. “I like to just capture what’s going on and try not to wear it out too much.”
I Conjure Series is out now on Secretly Canadian.