Listen to this song and you can hear a metamorphosis stirring. Scout Niblett goes from quasi-Cat Power to Iron Butterfly in this unusual transformation of a song in 3 or 4 parts.
There are definitely glimpses of early Matador Records indie artists like Mary Timony in Niblett’s music but Scout was never meant for the brooding-turned-jangle of many indie solo artists and bands. Secretly Canadian and Drag City proved perfect labels in which she could systematically destroy her own lovely songs; turn them into bitter, ugly noise sometimes. On stage she seemed nervous until the heavier instrumentation went wild and it was like seeing Bruce Banner become The Hulk. This petite Englishwoman turned gargoyle, worst friend, best enemy, something feared, yet something full of fear and riding the wave of it until the storm of her own music passed.
“Drummer Boy” starts feeling like she’s dropping hints from 1995 and Thurston Moore’s “Cherry’s Blues” but can she convince herself that this is just another alternative song? Nope. Guitars fall out of tune and the song takes on a second form and drums get cardiovascular quickly; act as absolutely no one’s wallflower even when the a cappella appears and Scout sings to declaration then the song goes marching on.
By the end the vocal is shouting in every direction, head spinning and words frothing I CAN’T WAIT… I GOTTA GO NOW! The drums echo this anger. Frenzy of bass pedal working overtime ensues while presumably this tasked drummer boy of song has had his fill of pa-rum-pa-pum-pumming. At the end of the day he is still a child that just wants to be a child or sit in the sandbox. Or I misunderstood the lyrics. Regardless, the changing energy from start to finish in “Drummer Boy” reveals both a driving power and a need for something stripped down and new.
There’s something in this music that makes me not care about smiling wide to reveal all my missing teeth.
(Song recommendation by K Weber)