Antony and the Johnsons - The Crying Light (2009)

Antony Hegarty’s voice is awe. It’s the kind of voice that masses of music lovers gush over and justly so. It’s immaculate, achingly delicate. If other musicians were to express the lyrics strikingly sung here, it may come across as cloying or contrived. Antony however, sings with the utmost conviction and sorrowful sincerity. You only have to listen for confirmation.

The Crying Light is laced with imagery, vivid and deathly. The entire album is imbued with mournful string arrangements, piano and flutes. On “Epilepsy is Dancing” Antony requests that you “cut me in quadrants, leave me in the corner” before announcing that “it’s passing, now I’m dancing”.

The first half is more amiable with “One Dove”, “Kiss My Name” and “The Crying Light” adding light to the record. In contrast, the 2nd half is more unravelled, stark and potent.

Piano strokes lull tenderly in “Another World” while a protagonist comes to terms with leaving, “I’m going to miss the birds, singing all their songs. I’m going to miss the wind, been kissing me so long”.

“Daylight and the Sun” strikes you in the pit of your stomach with its opening vocal, “Now I cry for daylight. Daylight and the sun”. It imposes its yearning so luminously with fervent arrangements. Attempts to suppress heartbreaking sentiments are in vain.

“Dust And Water” is sung in a cappella. The forgoing of musical accompaniment invokes the sensation of being exposed. It’s precious and unfalteringly honest. Antony’s voice trembles softly, “Love the coal. Love the way you're waiting. I love your kind patience. Dust and water, water and dust”.

In closer “Everglade”, Antony is overcome with acceptance, “When I’m lying sweetly in my bed, the sun plays crystal with my eyes. Then I stop, my body stops crying for home. My limbs stop weeping for home”. The song peaks, before violins comfort for one last minute and then retreat from earshot.

Heartrendingly magic.

(85 - SM)
Combined Rating = 86

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