The Crying Light, released yesterday by Secretly Canadian, is the first full-length album by Antony & The Johnsons since 2005‘s gorgeous I Am a Bird Now and I’m excited to say it was worth the wait. The songs revolve around the theme of Antony’s connection to nature, and the arrangements have a more symphonic quality than previous albums. But the intimate, evocative quality of his voice remains as captivating as ever. The album’s cover is a 1977 portrait of Butoh dancer Kazuo Ohno, to whom Antony dedicates The Crying Light.
Though I enjoyed last year’s Another World EP (the title track of which also appears on The Crying Light), I feared some of the more experimental tracks on it may have indicated a change in direction (or more accurately, emotion) for Antony & The Johnsons. But “Her Eyes Are Underneath The Ground” – the lovely song that opens The Crying Light – immediately assuaged my fear, and songs like “One Dove” and the stunning “Daylight and the Sun” rip out my heart strings all over again.
The ardent quiver of Antony’s voice lays beautifully over the melancholy piano melodies, which are uplifted by exquisite orchestral arrangements. “Epilepsy Is Dancing” and “Kiss My Name” change the tone of the album in contrasting ways. The former rises and falls with a folk delicacy, while the latter sways with an unexpected buoyancy. “Dust and Water” would be a haunting a capella number save for a quiet hum beneath Antony’s vocal, then “Everglade” gracefully closes the album.
The Wachowski Brothers, the minds behind The Matrix, directed the video for “Epilepsy Is Dancing”, which you can watch at the link below. The artistic forest orgy video is like a tragic A Midsummer Night’s Dream, thanks to painters Tino Rodriguez and Virgo Paradiso and choreographer Sean Dorsey. I’m also sharing the “Another World” mp3 for two weeks, with permission from the band’s PR rep.
Antony & The Johnsons – Another World (mp3 expired) *
Antony & The Johnsons – Epilepsy is Dancing (video)
*mp3 provided by & posted w/ permission of Girlie Action PR