ANTONY AND THE JOHNSONS – “CRYING LIGHT”

Following up I am a Bird Now is no easy task. I’m not sure I have ever been struck so immediately by a singular feeling of melancholy running through the vein of an album. However, I felt the subject matter of gender identity and metamorphosis that I am a Bird Now took on was a little too insular and distant for me. On The Crying Light, However, Antony tackles the more universal themes of “nature and the future” and produces an album that is as universally applicable as it is personal. While I am a Bird Now featured the vocal talents of some of the biggest names in LGBT community such as Rufus Wainwright, Boy George and the always sexually ambiguous Lou Reed and Devendra Banhart, The Crying Light shifts it’s focus to production. The tracks co-written by the most name dropped golden boy in Neo-Classical music, Nico Muhly, have a distinct rise and swell that utilizes 12 musicians playing discreet pieces. I must admit when I first heard about this collaboration I got a little weak in the knees, Antony’s vocals on Nico’s Speaks Volumes are fantastic and I was excited to see what direction this would take. True to form, Antony’s signature vibrato and warble are fixed in place, but there is a distinct edge that rises above the melancholy on tracks like “Aeon” and “Kiss my Name”. His voice swells and belts and does anything but croon, there is a power underneath his statements of universal solidarity and hope. The closer, “Everglade”, co-written by Muhly is by far the stand out collaboration between the two. Like I am a Bird Now, this album takes me places, but this time it is somewhere I want to go.

Ryan H.

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