Friday 7 September 2012

Rebekah Delgado - Don't Sleep

Album review by KevW

Tom Robinson from BBC 6 Music declared London singer-songwriter Rebekah Delgado "a female Nick Cave" after hearing the spooky album opener 'Little Boy Blue'. Wasn't that what people were calling Anna Calvi a year or so back? Let's deal with that likeness first off, because Delgado is bound to draw comparisons UK music's current premier drama queen. The songs on this debut album are unsettling in the same way that Anna Calvi can be, the general sound is a cinematic mixture of pop, baroque and rock with bundles of atmosphere and no shortage of strings and various exotic influence such as the Latin feel of 'Lamentine', it also incorporates the odd sample (like as the vocal clip at start of 'Day Like Any Other'). This isn't your standard singer-songwriter formula, like Calvi, Delgado is much more interesting.

Although the two will likely appeal to a similar demographic and aren't exactly chalk and cheese, Delgado's songs are driven by wider orchestration, where Calvi built her music around that ferocious guitar playing, adding the string sections for extra muscle, these tracks create their atmosphere using a bigger range of instruments that can be difficult to pick out of the melee. As well as the strings, guitar and piano are what sounds like a musical saw (check out 'See Through The Storm' or the spoken word piece 'The Hunger That Never Sleeps'), mandolin and possibly harpsichord or something similar. That's not the only medieval influence, 'Dark Waltz' borrows heavily from 'Greensleeves' and you suspect that various ancient stringed instruments are brought in to give this record its unorthodox atmosphere.

Vocally Rebekah Delgado doesn't have the raw and pure force that powers Anna Calvi's tracks, but that's not to her detriment. The cracked and emotive rasp adds a form of anger rather than vampish bellowing, and this gives tracks like 'Scoundrelle' an extra potency also found on the comparatively conventional but still impressive 'Sunrise'. In reality she's not the female Cave or the new Calvi, she's the first Rebekah Delgado. Despite comparisons (which are almost inevitable, whoever you are), 'Don't Sleep' is set to its own agenda. It's a dark and baroque chamber pop album and is sometimes slightly unnerving. The cover looks like a Dali nightmare piece and it ends with a song called 'Vampire'. Is it goth? Well not as we know it, it's more a musical journey through the mysterious, shadowy areas of life and music, and in that respect it deserves to be considered a unique piece with its own identity.

Rebekah Delgado's website

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