At first listen, Scout Niblett’s latest release It’s Up To Emma is a melodic, trance-inducing, intuitive self-expression of the modern singer-songwriter trying to find herself in a sea of new voices, all aiming to reach the surface as the musical tidal wave hits the shores of the aficionado’s ears.
With a serious sense of who she is and the kind of music she wants to create, British-born Emma Louise Niblett, more commonly known by her stage name “Scout” accentuates her strong vocals on It’s Up To Emma with an often provocatively undressed acoustic guitar-and-drum sound. The only negative side effect of this is that, at second listen, though the individual songs reflect a powerful woman who isn’t afraid to speak her mind, the songs all blend together into a blur of slow tempos and powerful orchestral backgrounds.
Reminiscent of other strong, empowered and unabashed female artist like Feist and Florence and the Machine, with hints of influences such as Nirvana, Niblett’s first single off the album “Gun” speaks to all the heartbroken ex-girlfriends out in the world that have been cheated on and hurt, but who won’t stand by and be tread upon. It’s a song about overcoming and moving on and living with no regrets… that, and exacting revenge.
Although unlikely to ever follow through, when cheated on, a girl always wishes to get vengeance on those who have done her wrong and Niblett is no different when she sings “I think I’m going to buy me a gun / A nice little silver one / And in a crowd someday / You won’t see it coming anyway / Maybe you’ll be holding her hand / Watching her shitty band / Really what did you expect / Spending months lying in her bed?” But as the song crescendos to its climax, it’s clear that Niblett has taken the high road and regained her strength and desire to not sink to his level, saying “Your lies came so easily / I can’t believe you’d think they would work on me / I watched you both hide out / You didn’t want the world to find out / You took your love away from me / And I am thankful every day / She took your love away from me, from me / And I am thankful every day.”
However, by the time the album reaches the fifth song “Woman And Man,” the musical tone of the album has yet to change. Each song sounds similar to the one before and after.
Despite the repetitive nature of the album’s instrumentals and song lyrics, the overall arching feel of It’s Up To Emma echoes the unwavering ability of Niblett to take control and overcome, with songs like “Can’t Fool Me Now” and “All Night Long” – where she sings about being a fool for too long and being able to move forward after heartbreak, or standing her ground, strong and proud. Even with her cover of the classic TLC song “No Scrubs,” Niblett continues to empower herself and bring a unique edge to her sound and her voice.
At the end of the day, the album is still an occasional must-listen for anyone wanting to hear music that lends itself to reveries and daydreams of strength, self-assured control, and the fruits of taking the high road in life.