Scout Niblett

Sweet Heart Fever

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

Similar to many of the artists in the Secretly Canadian stable, Scout Niblett also has an affinity for soft vocals, hard acoustic guitars, and tear-drenched lyrics that bubble over with emotion. Immediate references to Cat Power and PJ Harvey may be inevitable, but Scout (aka Emma Louise Niblett) definitely has a voice all her own. And it's easily distinguished for those who can tell Songs: Ohia's Jason Molina and Palace's Will Oldham apart, but for others there won't be as much discrepancy. Niblett's debut, Sweet Heart Fever, is filled with lush, melodic compositions of the minimal sort. Usually with just a guitar and angelic voice, Niblett tells serious tales with heartfelt songwriting, sounding uncannily American even though she's British. Her somewhat gothic sound is incredibly warm in tone yet touches a sense of longing and loneliness. Regardless, Niblett will warm your heart from the first couple of tracks in. Only occasionally is Kristian Goddard's drumming enlisted, and it sits comfortably in the second place, providing a light oomph to Niblett's swelling vocals. The songs are pensive and tuneful throughout, and only in one rare instance does she fall off the rails. This exception is the clumsy "Big Bad Man," even though it is the hardest of all the tracks -- as it sees Niblett getting up from behind her guitar and seemingly rocking out in a somewhat childish and goofy manner. Aside from that, the other 13 tracks are superlative. Sweet Heart Fever is a stunning debut.

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