Review - Scout Niblett’s ‘Kidnapped By Neptune’

Album number three for Nottingham born Scout Niblett sees her continue where she left off with more of her dark but intoxicating music. With a little help from Steve Albini, her latest album ‘Kidnapped By Neptune’ is a sprawling 15 song affair, showing off her voice and incredible lyrical prowess.

Her minimalist approach to song writing results in a delicate album, full of heart breaking but ultimately uplifting tunes which thrive after the 6th 7th or 35th time you hear them. Imagine Cat Power, aged 5, on a mission to offer the entire contents of her brain through song, and you’re close to imagining her sound. ‘Hot To Death’ is the perfect introduction, building from a quietly strummed guitar and vocals to an orgasmic crescendo of Zepplin style riffs. ‘Lullaby For Scout In Ten Years’ is an insight into Scout’s concerns about her future, asking her older self questions: ‘is there someone to hold you tightly in their arms, if there’s no one then drink a glass with me.’ It’s subtle and imposing at the same time, and demands your attention. In contrast to this, tunes such as the instrumental ‘Handsome,’ lifted straight from early 90’s Seattle or ‘This City’ seemingly from an experimental piano jazz outfit, leave the listener with no idea what to expect next. Scout’s voice drifts from one extreme to the other with unsettling frequency, with the effect remaining the same as she manages to manipulate each lyric and twist it until it’s barely recognizable. It would be easy for the album to lack continuity and structure, but this is cleverly avoided as each track somehow seems to flow into the next.

Although some may say there’s been little progress since previous album ‘I Am,’ ‘Kidnapped By Neptune’ remains a major accomplishment and will captivate and scare those of us who’d like to be. For the remaining masses however, this may prove to be one of the most challenging listens of the year, but with perseverance this album may surprise you.

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