Light Sleeper: Transparent Pink Vinyl LPRLKND043
Pre-Order Item. Release Date Subject to Change.
Label: Real Kind Records
Release Date: 24th May
Bess Atwell's return with 'Light Sleeper' is absolutely swelling with emotion, a new rawness to her voice but still it remains sweet with the guitars and melodies having a new crunch, it is helped in part of Bess fulfilling a dream of working with Aaron Dessner in his cabin studio in Hudson Valley.
"You called yourself broken, but that's just what people are, that's how the light gets in," sings Bess Atwell in the opening moments of Light Sleeper, before gentle hums of strings and shuffling snares make way for the Brighton singer's voice at full pelt, singing with a newfound rawness.
"Light Sleeper is about the willingness to feel," the Brighton singer-songwriter explains. "Somewhere along the line I had become very afraid of feeling."
A huge part of this exploratory new era was Aaron Dessner, who produced Light Sleeper. His isolated cabin studio Long Pond, in Hudson Valley, was once Bess' desktop background, but she never thought she would end up star-gazing on its veranda and noodling away on the same instruments used by her heroes, not to mention a certain pop star...
The immediate trust between the pair clicked the moment Atwell walked through the doors of the iconic recording space; Dessner showed her around and then promptly left her alone to play on the many instruments at the heart of her favourite The National songs. As Atwell puts it, they seemed to speak the same musical language. "I trust his ear and I knew we had the same vision" she says.
Since the release of 'Already, Always' Atwell has been through a number of personal transformations including tapering off antidepressants, after "years of avoiding it". Reflections on her upbringing and re-evaluations of some of her experiences led to a autism diagnosis in May 2023, which has helped her to make sense of many different moments.
Motifs of sleeping and waking run throughout Light Sleeper, which constantly stirs and settles, Atwell embracing the full range and rawness of her voice like never before. By the title-track, which closes the album, twinkling, starry synthesisers lead her to a place of quiet realisation: "I'm ready to be a light sleeper again/To wake up and feel everything/I can carry the weight of it"