This Anchoress article was written by Kelly Crichton, a GIGsoup contributor
On first listen to ‘Confessions of a Romance Novelist’, one is immediately struck by the wide range of tone and style presented throughout the album. Piano-laced anti-ballads, spiralling progressive rock and downright catchy pop all play a part on a debut album which is a mammoth piece of work.
Multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, PhD and producer Catherine Anne Davies plays “victim come victor” on this 13 track heart-break anthology. The artist has indicated that each song is presented by a different character, “what you might call it a musical ghost writing of sorts.” There’s plenty to impress here as well as stand-out tracks include ‘You and Only You’ (featuring the timeless vocals of Mansun ex-frontman, Paul Draper, who co-produced the album with Davies).
Davies contribution didn’t stop at writing and vocals. She also plays piano, guitar, flute, omnichord, mellotron, Wurlitzer, glockenspiel, and celeste on the album – a more varied selection of instruments you will not find on a release this year
‘Popular’, is a dark pop song which could prove to be a break-out track and is undeniably comparable to the stylings of Marina and the Diamonds. Memorable lyrics like ‘Gonna stretch my mouth to let the big words out’ are juxtaposed with clichés in other songs and
titles, such as ‘What Goes Around’ and ‘Doesn’t Kill You’. Other colourful lyrics abound on the album such as ‘I lost the plot to Jeffery Archer’ (‘Confessions of a Romance Novelist’).
Davies seems to stray into an ill-fitting piano-rock ballad universe on ‘Bury Me’; an all-too obvious requiem which sits uncomfortably beside the stronger upbeat, pop melodies. But the more one listens to the album the more you realise this is exactly what Davies is trying to achieve, portraying the various incarnations of forgone relationships. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to take them seriously as they often come across as the bitter voices of the freshly jilted.
The album is adorned with some rather beautiful artwork which again presents a different persona of Davies. All are worth observing for the sheer effort that clearly went into this album if not for personal gratification.