Oct 232023
the anchoress

Renaissance woman Catherine Anne Davies (who we’ve raved about before, under her old moniker Catherine A.D.) combines her new project The Anchoress with numerous side-gigs in the music industry, but also with journalism and academic research. Her latest Anchoress project is Versions, an excellent album tribute to ’80s post-punk songs. One of them is All About Eve’s “Martha’s Harbour.”

Julianne Regan, the singer and one of the creative forces behind All About Eve, appears to be a kindred spirit of Davies. A successful journalist, she became a contributor, as singer, writer and bassist, to a number of bands, and has since branched out into academia. This song was the most commercially successful single for the band in the UK, taken from their first album. Stylistically the song differs from others on that record, as a two-hander between Regan’s shimmering vocals and the guitar of her long-time collaborator Tim Bricheno. Regan has said that they wrote and recorded the song whilst the rest of the band were otherwise engaged (being British, this meant that for much of the action they were in the pub!)

The Anchoress’ new version is still voice and story-led, and maintains the pace, but subtly modifies the key to add an extra note of melancholy. Davies has said that the sadness of the song appealed to her, and she has emphasized that part of it. The sounds of the sea are removed to underscore the metaphorical nature of the lyrics. There are more layers to the mix. Overall the new version is more beguiling and enticing, perhaps aiming to seduce the listener. Regan’s audience might have been the sea, but Davies definitely hopes someone is listening.


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