Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Antony and the Johnsons: The Crying Light

Artist: Antony and the Johnsons
Album: The Crying Light
Date Released: January 29, 2009
Genre: pop, rock
Rating: 8.3

Review: Among my most anticipated releases of the year, The Crying Light marks the third release from New York's Antony and the Johnsons. The Crying Light features the unmistakable vocal talents of Antony Hegarty, who last year appeared with the frenetically upbeat Hercules and Love Affair.

Going into the album I was expecting more vocal greatness -- and Antony delivers. But what I didn't expect was the gorgeous production, tastefully minimalistic arrangements and stellar song writing. Indeed, while I was eager to hear where Hegarty was going to take his singing abilities, I did not expect the song writing to be so good. Tracks like "Epilepsy is Dancing," "The Crying Light" and "One Dove" shine above their previous efforts as carefully constructed and mature pieces. The end result is their strongest album to date -- and with Hegarty emerging as a very capable composer.

The Crying Light is gentle, tender and delicate. It's colored by emotions that are telegraphed through Hegarty's inimitable vocal talents and through thoughtful lyrics. Themes that run through the album include loss, change and self-reflection. "Another World" in particular is a track that can be read as a lamentation for the current environmental crisis, or as the thoughts of a person facing their own death:

Still have to many dreams
Never seen the light
I need another world
A place where I can go
I'm gonna miss the sea
I'm gonna miss the snow
I'm gonna miss the bees
I miss the things that grow
I'm gonna miss the trees
I'm gonna miss the sun
I miss the animals
I'm gonna miss you all

A beautiful and engaging album, The Crying Light marks the highpoint of Antony and the Johnsons' musical career.

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