Antony and the Johnsons: The Crying Light

“The Crying Light” is Antony and the Johnsons third studio release and follows up 2005’s Mercury Prize winning “I am a Bird Now”. Like the previous award winning album, this new piece of work is so haunting it could quite easily cause Yvette Fielding to shit her pants.

Following the worldwide critical success of “I Am A Bird Now” is no trivial task as they have now lost the key element of surprise. “I Am A Bird Now” sounded like nothing else I had every heard before, and it’s macabre beauty and originality drew blanks when attempting to offer musical comparisons to describe it. The originality is now lost, and “The Crying Light” can be easily described as sounding like its predecessor.

I suspect that “The Crying Light” may not be able to repeat the success of “I Am A Bird Now” and win the 2009 Mercury Album of the year. However, in many ways I think this new album is superior, perhaps if this album had been released first in 2005 it could just of easily cleaned up. Maybe it still will.

Album opener “Her Eyes are Underneath the Ground” apes the first track of its predecessor “Hope There’s Someone”. It has the same high lingering vocals over relaxed piano and delicate cello.

“One Dove” is another album highlight with minimal guitar and piano and a dreamy violin. The ending is a little more irregular with the strings straying into a more avant-garde ending.

On my first listen to “Kiss My Name” I hadn’t read the track listing so was unaware of the song titles. I have to confess being a little disappointed after slowly hearing the start of the song “Kiss. My.” was followed by “Name”. I know this album is a beautiful delicate piece of well crafted art, but they could have shoved in one “Arse” at some point.

“Another World” continues the chilling vocals with slight piano accompaniment and adds howling woodwind like whale song distantly screaming in the background.

“Dust and Water” has an African tribal harmonic resonance and a vocal performance that seems to deviate from English at times.

This is an exquisite, delicate, emotional, solemn and contemplative album, so don’t bother taking it to a rave.