Friday, 18 December 2009

Dec, 12th: hanging like Christmas stars, from a golden vein

Antony & The Johnsons- The Crying Light (Rough Trade, 2009)

 The Crying Light is Antony & The Johnsons' third record, the follow up to their 2005 breakthrough, I Am A Bird Now. I bought TCR off the back of that album's Mercury Prize nomination and general hype. I'm not sure about it, if I'm honest.
It may just be that it's an album to admire rather than enjoy. I can see the talent and the quality that's evident, but Antony Hegarty's voice seems to have one tone whether he's happy or sad, and the  constant tremolo is a bit of an acquired taste.
The focus of the album has shifted from I Am A Bird Now's almost autobiographical gender and identity-based songs to a broader, more environmental, nature-based feel (For example 'Another World' : "I need another world, this one's nearly gone...")  which is at least a change, although the overall feel of despair still pervades the whole thing.
Listening to this album is a bit like being in a German cabaret with a depressed Nina Simone. It's nice enough for one of two songs, but over a whole CD's worth of baroque pop and emotional piano tinkling it gets slightly wearing. 

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