Tuesday, December 15, 2009

#6 Album of 2009: The Crying Light - Antony & the Johnsons

The Crying Light

Antony & the Johnsons
Secretly Canadian.

SCQ Album Review

If instrumentation is secondary on any given Antony & the Johnsons album, The Crying Light deems it downright supplementary. Whether arrangements (courtesy of Nico Muhly) are sparsely integrated as on ‘Dust and Water’ or built to a full-orchestra crescendo on finale ‘Everglade’, Antony Hegarty’s voice rules twice the emotion and dimension. And it’s these breathtaking performances that render The Crying Light not only a beautiful album on par with I Am a Bird Now, but better than so many high-quality releases that, frankly, don’t employ Antony as a band-member.

I used to marvel at the thought that Hegarty’s songs could never be covered righteously, but now I realize my theory was half-finished. With The Crying Light it becomes evident that these songs don’t exist without Antony. Tasteful instruments may drift in and out with complimentary moods but they’re latched to a voice that births and lets go these songs. A more intimate showcase of a singular songwriter.

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