Antony and the Johnsons, 'The Crying Light' (Secretly Canadian)

7
The Crying Light
Critical Mass
Label: Secretly Canadian

by Spencer Kornhaber

Sexual confusion, sibling rivalry, fear of death: On 2005's gut-twisting I Am aBird Now, Antony Hegarty sang about earthly anxieties in a deep croon that could have come from some androgynous, mournful extraterrestrial. Hegarty's voice is famously his own; stylistically, he's akin to Björk, but with a timbre closer to a saxophone. His best work, including contributions to Hercules and Love Affair's glassy-eyed disco debut last year, thrives on the shock of recognizing the human frailty in Hegarty's velvety, otherworldly bay.

Antony and the Johnsons' third full-length wisely focuses on the frontman's enormous talent, with Nico Muhly's classical arrangements plinking and waltzing but never overpowering. Hegarty's command has never been greater: The album's opening note, quivering and clinging like a spider in a wind-buffeted web, could send an unprepared listener to the brink of tears.

Still, The Crying Light may be the singer's most alien-seeming work yet. His motives feel distant, with each song sketching surreal scenes of flowers and snow, flecked with references to sad eyes and ill-defined desires. Hegarty appears to be exploring the ways that nature leaves every living thing perfect but incomplete -- from the sun-seeking plant to the helpless baby to the convulsing epileptic. It's a fitting, if oblique, message from a man who voices his species' joys and sorrows in sounds only he can produce.

Listen: Antony and the Johnsons, "Another World"

BUY:

iTunesAmazon

00:00 00:00 No Song Selected More info
00:00 00:00
placeholder
Now Playing
  • 1 SFV Acid — And No Stress " 07:46
  • 2 Trash Talk — "Cloudkicker" " 03:00
  • 3 Little Dragon — Let Go " 04:05
  • 4 BOOTS — Dreams (feat. Beyoncé) " 04:55
  • 5 Pompeya — Night " 03:43
  • 6 Melted Toys — Blush " 03:18

SPIN is a member of SPIN Music Group, a division of BUZZMEDIA