CATHERINE DAVIES & BERNARD BUTLER – ” In Memory of My Feelings “

Posted: December 5, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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With nearly five decades and a wealth of recording experience between them, talk of a collaboration between Catherine Anne Davies and Bernard Butler is a mouth watering prospect to say the least.  Indeed, their coming together didn’t just happen overnight. It’s actually been in the offing for a good 10 years now, but rather than just rush into things, they’ve taken their time and gradually honed, then built a collection of songs worthy of any great debut album. Which essentially this is, as pairings go.   

Ironically, despite being conceived in 2010 then completed in 2014, “In Memory of My Feelings” only took 15 days to make. The biggest battle facing its creators was finding someone to release it, where music journalist cum label owner Pete Paphides duly obliged in making it the first “new” release on his Needle Mythology imprint, which up until now has solely put out reissues.

In Memory of My Feelings is a very personal record, particularly for Davies, who wrote all of the lyrics. Nevertheless, the meeting of minds between two very talented individuals means the arrangements veer from sparse, such as on opener and lead single “The Breakdown,” or the exquisitely tender “I Know” and despondent penultimate number “The Patron Saint of the Lost Cause,” to the more upbeat and up-tempo, rockier pieces like “Sabotage (Looks So Easy)” and “Judas,” where Butler’s signature guitar sound rises to the fore.   

The sparse but stately opener, ‘The Breakdown’, explores the impact and aftershocks of the aggressive pursuit of wealth, reflecting on the life of a banker post-crash: “Do you make the money, or is the money making you?” Other destructive impulses, including the pressure to adhere to performative behaviours, are explored on the wonderfully energised ‘Sabotage (Looks So Easy)’‘The Patron Saint Of The Lost Cause’ fondly evokes some of the similarly alchemical results witnessed when Davies worked with the Manics on ‘Dylan And Caitlin’ for 2018’s ‘Resistance Is Futile’.

“Sabotage (Looks So Easy)” is the second single from the album ‘In Memory Of My Feelings’ which is released on September 18th, the album is the result of a one-off collaboration between Catherine Anne Davies (The Anchoress) and Bernard Butler. In contrast to the piano led end-of-days address The Breakdown, Sabotage is album’s emphatic guitar driven moment of celebratory catharsis. Of the song Catherine says, “Some people lift others up. They’re altruistic and constructive. Then there are the energy vampires who have perfected the art of destruction. It’s about toxic masculinity and I’m channelling my inner Patti Smith and Chrissie Hynde here to raise a middle finger to every man who played the victim when they were called out.”

Bernard Butler “Sabotage” was written when we reconvened a few years after anxiously writing the first set of songs, by which time I think we had both been trampled on a little … as is our style, without talking about it to each other, we consequently wanted to smash the room up a little and say ‘that’s enough now thanks.’’

Elsewhere, “The Waiting Game” could be a Manic Street Preachers outtake from the Resistance Is Futile sessions (if you’ve heard Davies’ contributions to that record you’ll understand where I’m coming from), while closer “F.O.H.” could be a distant relative of “P.S. Fuck You” off Davies’ alter ego The Anchoress’ 2016 long player Confessions of a Romance Novelist.

I’d also recommend the bonus seven-inch, which comes with the vinyl edition, if only for the heartfelt cover of Madonna’s “Live to Tell” that rivals the original for delivery and execution.

‘In Memory Of My Feelings’ is released on Needle Mythology; the label founded by music writer, author and broadcaster Pete Paphides and is the very first release of brand new music on the label. Limited edition formats include 2LP +7” w/ signed lyric sheet and gatefold replica CD with signed postcard available for a limited period exclusively via the Official store.

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