Operating amid the hazy limbo-land where artful pop and edgy prog collide, Catherine Anne Davies has been a spectral presence on the UK alternative music scene for a few years now.
Co-produced by Mansun’s Paul Draper, her long-awaited debut delivers on all fronts, not least because it presents an idiosyncratic musical vision that covers a great deal of ground while enabling Davies’ intense identity to shine with iridescent zeal. These are dark and often menacing pop songs, driven primarily by their author’s spiky lyrics and pointedly gothic delivery. Seemingly a sustained act of emotional revenge, Confessions… will provoke comparisons to Kate Bush, Tori Amos and even PJ Harvey, but Davies is no aesthetic magpie: those resemblances are fleeting and thin, and the true heart of these skewed outbursts is one that beats to its own singular tempo. Subverting clichés with sharp delight on What Goes Around and Doesn’t Kill You, plunging into macabre anti-marital melancholy on One For Sorrow and delivering a knee to the knackers on P.S. Fuck You, The Anchoress emerges as a formidable feminine force for musical good and, perhaps, a potential pop star with genuine prog credentials.