The Art Of Losing by The AnchoressRelease date: March 12, 2021
It’s been five years since The Anchoress (Catherine Anne Davies) has released a follow-up after her 2016 debut, Confessions of a Romance Novelist on the Kscope label. She has been very busy as well. Co-writing and producing Paul Draper’s 2017 solo debut Spooky Action, hosting her own podcast The Art of Losing, and writing articles. She wrote a tribute to filmmaker David Lynch for the NME, and two interviews for the UK webzine Drowned in Sound for Tori Amos and with James Dean Bradfield of the Manic Street Preachers.
This year Catherine has released her second album from the Kscope label entitled, The Art of Losing. The album deals with the issues on death. It tackles on that heavy subject of climbing out of those tragedies that we’re stuck in, and how we can try to move forwards from the loss of a loved one. Inspired by Dylan Thomas poem, Do not go gentle into that good night, it’s quite an exaggerating release for Catherine to push the envelope on the purpose of grieving. And to be allowed to have two guests artists including Bradfield and drummer Sterling Campbell (Spandau Ballet, Duran Duran, and the late great David Bowie), Catherine is like a flame that will never burn out.
‘5AM’ is sung in the style of the Velvet Underground’s ‘Stephanie Says’. She pours her heart out by dealing with the subject to move forwards in sequences that have a darker tone after going through a long night by not speaking to anyone in particular.
‘Show Your Face’ is an action packed rhythm section with some high-rising synths. Featuring the intense Devo-esque drumming by Campbell and heavy guitar structures from Bradfield, it deals with the toxic masculinity of abuse. Not only that, but learning how to fight back and standing up for yourself. However, the past and the present will haunt you for years to come. And the nightmare will continue forever
The title-track feels like a theme to Barbara Gordon’s return as Batgirl during the New 52 arc from DC Comics by Gail Simone. It shows not only that Barbara is back as Batgirl, but for how long after what the Joker had done to her in the 1988 controversial graphic novel of Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke. With its rumbling gallop The Anchoress delves into the bottom of the sea, it’s the insanity on not knowing that this person that you know and love, has a huge amount of skeletons in the closet they don’t want them to know behind closed doors.
Both ‘Moon Rise (Prelude)’ and ‘Moon (An End)’ are piano concertos that cross-over between Tchaikovsky’s ‘Piano Concerto No. 1’ and Wojiech Kilar’s score to Paul Grimault’s surreal 1952 animated classic, Le Roi et L’Oiseau (The King and the Mockingbird). ‘The Exchange’ is a mini-opera featuring Bradfield’s duet on the confrontation of the damage being done.
While there’s no turning back for what happened, the tension levels go up for what went horribly wrong as the bomb starts to tick rapidly before exploding at any second while ‘My Confessor’ and ‘Let It Hurt’ have various arrangements. One is a dooming waltz by paying the ultimate price as the second track channels the John Lennon-esque double track vocals equipped on the wounds that their former loved ones went through, are now old rotting wounds that will never, ever wash away.
‘Unravel’ finally reveals the mask off on the characterizations of the person has become by revealing how much wicked and menacing behavior they went through to reveal to the public who they’ve become. The music is like a post-Chamber pop string section with some elements between The Cure’s Pornography-era and Joy Division’s arrangements.
The Art of Losing may not be everyone’s cup of coffee per se, but what Catherine has done is bring home another run for 2021. And was it worth waiting for? Absolutely. And whether you agree with The Anchoress or not, I’ve mentioned this earlier, but Catherine Anne Davies is like a flame that will never burn out