Scout Niblett Sweet Heart Fever

For those waiting for Cat Power's new record, there is always Scout Niblett. Her improbable moniker and fixation on all things Southern is a bit precious, but there are a few moments of real beauty in amongst all the bedroom guitar noodling. The bluesy "Wide Shoulders" and creepy rocker "Big Bad Man" stand out as the most original, and the opener, "So Much Love to Do," manages to be both mildly unhinged and terribly catchy. Her home-fried Southern shtick (she's from Nottingham, England) is at its most grating on "Lula" and the baffling Civil War-style "Maker," which sounds like it belongs on The Patriot soundtrack. The problem is that there are more fragments here than fully realised songs, and the writing isn't compelling enough to sustain these indulgences. The album winds down to an ineffectual close and it all feels far too much like a demo. The Niblett would do well to exorcise her Chan Marshall demons and put out an EP. (Secretly Canadian)