Rebekah Delgado’s debut album Don’t Sleep is far more than the dreary outpourings of yet another anonymous singer-songwriter with a handful of disinteresting, emotional baggage. Not only can the album boast a handful of plays on the hallowed 6 Music and the hipster-tastic BBC Radio 2, but it can also hold up positive reviews from the marvellously named Drunken Werewolf.
And the fact that the former Ciccone and Last Armyfront woman knows her way around a guitar is simply a bonus.
Just don’t listen to it on a whim.
Don’t Sleep is a powerful offering as thick as winter broth and lacerated with doom-ridden interpretations and reflections on modern life. The listener is captivated from the outset, and is soon tormented by questioning just how far the songs are reflections on Rebekah’s life. “Little Boy Blue”, she tells us, “won’t let you escape, though its love that he feels, it felt like rape.” Opening tracks are supposed to be provocative, but Little Boy Blue verges on the deliciously sinister…
But this is by design, for Don’t Sleep is an album about vocals, poetry and enjoyable discomfort. Here we have singer with a powerful voice and a talented way with words and imagery. Perhaps it is a little previous, but I can’t help but think of a happy meeting of Bob Dylan, Nick Cave and Imogen Heap.
The second track Lamentime is a bastardised fusion of The Cure, Spanish traditional dance and something from the mists of time, whilst title track finds its origins in Rebekah’s disjointed sleeping patterns and sounds like the frantic melody of a semi-conscious Celtic nightmare. Sing You Through the Storm is an intriguing number that has the feel of a child with nightmares (appropriate really), before launching unexpectedly into a rousing chorus of “we all break sometimes”. Perhaps my favourite track on the album.
The next few tunes mosey along as happy, inoffensive fillers seem to do, withThe Hunger That Never Sleeps offering a compelling reason to reawaken and be boogied into the corner by the lively energy of Sunrise. Thematic perhaps? Does Rebekah cleverly use the sunrise as a lyrical device to indicate the release from the curse of insomnia? I would like to think so.
All in all Don’t Sleep is something very unique, a colourful and emotional statement from a young woman of ambition, experience and sheer, raw talent. Her energy is unquestionable, but it is also somehow restrained and delicately applied across a patchwork of intricate ideas, concepts and variations on a theme. The production quality is also worth a mention, being as it is raw and coarse but also warming and undeniably alluring. A bit like a warm wool blanket, if you will. Which by default also makes the album earthy, accessible and, most importantly, incredibly honest.
Not bad for somebody who doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page.
You can download the album here.