Review of Skeleton Songs Album by Catherine A.D.

Jumpers for goal posts. Duvets for sound booths. Tights and coat hangers for pop shields. In a refreshingly minimalist and resourceful approach to recording Catherine A.D (Anne Davies) has 'gone back to the source' and done little with her original recordings other than adding texture with some layered vocals. 'Skeleton Songs' is Catherine's 4th EP release, her previous 3 having been whilst completing her English Lit degree. The multi-instrumentalist who thankfully chose an 8-track recorder over driving lessons may have already come to your attention having collaborated with Nitin Sawhney for the reopening of the Royal Festival Hall. Now an 'Emerging Artist In Residence' there she is set to enthral a larger audience.

The five songs on the Ep are fabulously atmospheric and emotive. There is occasionally an uneasy sense of foreboding and tension that is created within some of the tracks that casts a somewhat dark and sinister shadow. Others play light against dark musically and lyrically, but all are tremendously evocative.

Catherine A.D. Skeleton Songs Album

'Missiveh' , a song named after 'What a God of miscommunication may be called' sets Catherine's voice against a nylon stringed Spanish guitar. Her soft vocal gently oozes through, blanketing the overall sound in velvet textured notes that carry an underlying sensuality. 'Populah-la' sees her venture into the Tori Amos and Regina Spektor realm of musical creation and composition. The bouncing piano and harmonised overlayering work well in expressing some of the EP's lyrical delights.........

'So I named my bastard children after children of the Russian Tzars.
All the parents smile at them and say,
'You know she's gonna go far, but she'll never be popular.....
not popular, no, no, no...'

The organ version of 'Carry Your Heart' is a haunting reflection on love that carries you away into a wondrously calm and tranquil dreamscape. 'I danced you to the edge of love, I folded your heart into mine'. 'The Heart wants to Be A Hammer' wraps up the set. The overall sound is sublimely infused with a sense of theatre. The use of the Glockenspiel adds a new dimension against the bass heavy piano notes.

Skeleton Songs has elements of Tori and Regina as well as Julie Feeney but is most aptly compared to Shara Worden. Catherine's songs are carried through on quality and composure. Her voice is warm and sumptuous, luscious yet organic, comforting and caressing. Often soft and suggestive in tone rather than overtly sexual, Catherine Anne's voice is a characterful instrument full of charm and seduction.

Of Catherine A.D. Courtney Love has said, her vocals are 'Gorgeous, sick and beautiful' and you'd not want to argue with her, would you?

Andrew Lockwood.

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