THE ANCHORESS CONFIRMS FOLLOW UP TO HER AWARD-WINNING, CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED DEBUT ALBUM & ANNOUNCES NEW SINGLE & VIDEO FOR ‘SHOW YOUR FACE’
‘The Art of Losing’, the second album from Welsh multi-instrumentalist The Anchoress (aka Catherine Anne Davies), will be released through Kscope on March 5th 2021.
The first single ‘Show Your Face’ is out now, following its radio premiere by Steve Lamacq on BBC 6 Music; a Depeche Mode flavoured retort to toxic masculinity that features guitar from Manic Street Preachers’ James Dean Bradfield (who also sings a duet on the album) and drums from Sterling Campbell (David Bowie, Duran Duran).
The new single weaves its dark synth magic following up on her sonically audacious debut, ‘Confessions of A Romance Novelist’, which was named amongst the Guardian critics’ Albums of the Year, nominated for the Welsh Music Prize, named HMV’s Welsh Album of the Year, and won Best Newcomer at the PROG awards.
Written and produced by Davies, ‘The Art of Losing’ navigates the detritus of death. It’s a record made in the process of trying to climb out of grief about how we make something from the losses in our lives. Written in the aftermath of several years of huge personal loss, the album follows Dylan Thomas’ instruction to “rage against the dying of the light” - and there is nothing “gentle” about its enquiry. Despite the traumatic backdrop to its composition, it is a far from dour affair. Rather, all fourteen tracks create a technicolour eruption of emotions, firmly concerned with how to find purpose in the midst of grief: “Was there some purpose to losing my mind?”, she asks on the album’s title track: “What did you learn when life was unkind..?”
The new album was written and recorded during an unfeasibly busy few years as Davies found solace and purpose in a range of projects whilst navigating her griefs. Most recently this came via the release of her collaborative album ‘In Memory of My Feelings’ with Bernard Butler (on Pete Paphides’ label Needle Mythology), duetting and touring with the Manic Street Preachers on their thirteenth album ‘Resistance Is Futile’ (which reached #2 in the UK charts), and being personally invited by The Cure’s Robert Smith to perform at his Meltdown Festival. She also brought a new generation of ears to legendary Scottish rock band Simple Minds, where she spent much of the last five years touring the world on keyboards, guitar and additional vocals. She joined the line-up in 2014, appearing on the Big Music (2015) and Walk Between Worlds (2018) albums before departing in 2019 after playing over 400 shows with the band.
The Anchoress has confirmed a show on 10 July 2021 at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall – tickets here.
Available formats of 'The Art Of Losing'
2LP & 7''
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The Anchoress 'Confessions Of A Romance Novelist (2017)'
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.