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Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Musick's Top 20 albums: 8

Antony & The Johnsons – The Crying Light



For the follow-up to the Mercury-prize winning, I Am A Bird Now, Antony Hegarty and his band of not-so-merry men and women, scaled down their sound to the bare bones. Piano, strings, a smattering of drums here and there and very little else augment that tremulous, haunting voice on songs that deal with the end of the world (‘Another World’), death (‘Her Eyes Are Underneath The Ground’) and father-son relationships (the bluesy ‘Aeon’). So sparse are the arrangements, that the slightest thing can trigger the raising of a hair on the back of the neck, such as the mournful flute that appears from nowhere on ‘One Dove’ or the way everything falls away during ‘Kiss My Name’ to leave a lonely drum tattoo. By the closing ‘Everglade’, however, Antony seems to be transported to a different world, as swooning, sumptuous strings cascade around a swollen vocal. Less showy it maybe, but The Crying Light is more than equal to its predecessor.

Key track: ‘One Dove’

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