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Rebekah Delgado – “Don’t Sleep” (Four In The Morning Records)

If John Carpenter ever decides to remake Vampires and chooses not to write its score, this album will most surely become the new soundtrack. Like the film’s subject matter Don’t Sleep ferments in the long shadows of day and only comes to life undercover of the night.  Speaking to us about the anxieties of its time spent on earth, it recoils at every single new dawn.  Somewhere deep inside that place lays Rebekah Delgado feeding on the very lifeblood of her own experience.

Don’t Sleep relocates the wide open spaces of Carpenter’s New Mexico to the taut claustrophobia of some unidentified English bedroom.  Its flickering narrative of introspection and disenchantment, longing and regret and an eventually spirited rediscovery and regeneration is spread bare across a dozen tracks, is sung in Delgado’s wavering and unreconstructed southern accent. There is not a trace of auto-tune or artifice here. Her voice ebbs and flows from the cat scratch fever of the album’s title track to the fractured tenderness of the ensuing  Sing Through The Storm; from the eerily disconcerting spoken word passages of The Hunger That Never Sleeps to Scoundrelle’s  subterranean  echoes of Kylie drowning in ketamine; all played out under a dark panoply of guitar, saw, violin, cello, drums and E-bow which spans a huge musical divide from ragtime to post-punk and beyond.

Like Vampires, Don’t Sleep is often lurid, brash and interlaced with a dark humour.  It is emotive, uncomfortable and strangely uplifting.  And also in keeping with the film it is flawed and prone to over-stretching the limits of its remarkably bold ambition. It can equally invite in the listener unhelpful comparison with any and every solo female performer from PJ Harvey to Anna Calvi.  But like Rebekah Delgado, who herself is now freed from the constraints of her earlier band occupancy, judge this debut record on its own very noble merits.

[Rating:3.5]

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.