The Anchoress was lauded in 2016 by the broadsheet press for her “compelling” (The Observer) and “fascinating” (Sunday Times) debut album, which she co-produced with Mansun’s Paul Draper; gracing the covers of MOJO magazines and the Guardian reviews section, as well as receiving coverage online from The Quietus, Drowned in Sound, The Line of Best Fit, Q, Gigwise, NPR and more.
Garnering comparisons to John Grant, Lana Del Rey and Kate Bush, Catherine’s previous singles have received heavy rotation of BBC 6Music and Radio X, as well as recently recording a special BBC Maida Vale session. HMV have awared the album as the best Welsh album of the year, Gigwise have listed the album as one of the best of 2016, Prog honoured her as the best newcomer of 2016 (Limelight Award) and she has released a special expanded edition of the album. The expanded edition of Confessions of a Romance Novelist features five new acoustic versions including the singles “What Goes Around”, “Popular” and “Bury Me”. Featuring string arrangements from Gillian Wood and a guest vocal from Paul Draper, as well as a solo piano rendition of the Simple Minds classic track ‘Rivers of Ice’, the acoustic versions are able to download as a lone Kitchen Sessions EP as an addition to the original Confessions of a Romance Novelist album – download / stream the acoustic tracks HERE. Catherine spent much of 2015 touring the arenas of Europe and the UK playing with Simple Minds to over 500,000 people, plus millions of Americans when she performed at the Billboard Awards in Las Vegas. In addition to headlining London’s Bush Hall, Catherine also played the main stage at last year’s Liverpool Sound City, as well as headlining the BBC Introducing stage at the Great Escape.
Confessions of a Romance Novelist, the debut album from The Anchoress is OUT NOW.
Revenge-pop? The Prog Karen Carpenter? Barbra Streisand on acid? Bat For Lashes on an obscure book-binge? Whichever way you choose to describe Confessions of a Romance Novelist – the debut album by The Anchoress (co-produced by Mansun’s visionary frontman Paul Draper) – one thing’s for certain, this is something truly different. Multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, PhD and producer Catherine Anne Davies (aka The Anchoress) sums up her album’s overall concept as, “Deconstructing normative ideas of love and romance. With each song sung by a different character, it’s what you might call a musical ghost writing of sorts.” Confessions of a Romance Novelist, features single ‘You And Only You’ as featured on BBC 6 Music, has been garnering praise from the media
“…a flawless and sophisticated hyper-literate pop record.” GQ
“…A record which could sneak big ideas past the listeners of daytime radio.” Q
“…literate and emotive… Karen Carpenter singing John Grant.” UNCUT
“…addresses the peaks and troughs of love, commitment and betrayal…Fascinating.” THE SUNDAY TIMES
9/10 THE LINE OF BEST FIT
“Deft, engrossing lyrical work with some beautifully dark arrangements… an enthralling return” CLASH
“A strutting howl of a vocal and grit-edged guitar… a sprawl of dark southern gothic” THE QUIETUS
Multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, PhD and producer Catherine Anne Davies (aka The Anchoress) sums up the album’s overall concept as “deconstructing normative ideas of love and romance”, with each song sung by a different character – “what you might call a musical ghost writing of sorts”. You can hear this distilled in the Prince-inspired feminist manifesto ‘One For Sorrow’ that questions the concept of marriage. There’s a different take on obsessional love in the album’s title track, where the album’s narrator ironically references her “bedroom shrine to Margaret Thatcher”. Meanwhile, ‘You And Only You’ – an anthemic ode to being better off alone – features the distinctive operatic indie-wail of Mansun’s Paul Draper, who co-produced the album with Catherine.
Draper helped to capture the collection of songs on which Catherine played a variety of instruments, including piano, guitar, flute, omnichord, mellotron, wurlitzer, glockenspiel, and celeste, as well as multi-tracking up to 25 vocal harmonies on some of the songs. Yet, recording was interrupted by a series of events that threatened to derail the project completely, including Catherine injuring her hand so badly during a 48-hour recording session that she was told she might not play again and had to wear a metal cast for 6 months. She says: “This has been made on a wing and a prayer, lots of favours, one car crash, one death, one broken hand, and a lot of patience on so many parts. Stir in 3 jobs, 4 studios, 2 arrests, 3 pianos, 40 songs and 1 very patient engineer… and you get some way to understanding what a long road it has been.”
The album follows two sold-out singles, which were playlisted on both BBC 6Music and Xfm, and received plaudits across the globe, from America’s NPR, to Les Inrockuptibles in France, the NME, and influential websites like The Quietus and Line of Best Fit.