Scout Niblett This Fool Can Die Now

Scout Niblett This Fool Can Die Now
One of the supposed highlights of this album is a set of guest appearances by Will Oldham. It seemed like a long overdue collaboration — not only are Oldham and Niblett adored by the same set of fans, they’re both praised more for their distinctive personalities than their music. When a performer’s success is due to some intangible quality rather than technical ability, it’s tempting to regard anything they put out as a work of indefinable genius. Strip away that illusion, however, and you find that oddballs can miss their mark just as easily as those with measurable talents. This Fool Can Die Now tends to coast on ideas alone and it often falls flat. The duets are disappointingly bland; Niblett is not very good at doing "normal” and she and Oldham are both capable of much better. When Niblett lets loose over pared-down tracks, featuring stark drums and sharp, minimal guitar parts, she comes across strong. When she croons conventionally unconventional folk songs, failing to harness her powerful caterwaul, and not exactly enthralling audiences with her songwriting, they sound dull, at best, and irritating at worst. Niblett, far from being a poor man’s Cat Power, has proved her chops as a talented, or at least compelling, eccentric in the past. Out of its 14 tracks, this record contains some interesting moments but there’s not a lot to grab hold of. (Too Pure)