Antony and the Johnsonâ€™s breakthrough second album I Am a Bird Now won the UKâ€™s Mercury Prize in 2005. The success that followed introduced many to a pioneering soul singer exploring themes that traversed darkness and light, life and death, male and female. Antonyâ€™s inimitable voice sparked the interest of artists ranging from Bjork to Hercules and Love Affair, resulting in a series of critically acclaimed collaborations.
The Crying Light is the highly anticipated full-length follow-up to I Am a Bird Now. Here, Antony shifts the thematic focus and explores his relationship with the elemental and natural world, and the intimacy of the Johnsonsâ€™ sound is enveloped by subtle symphonic arrangements. The first moments of â€śHer Eyes Are Underneath the Groundâ€ť set the stage, conjuring an animist world with enigmatic lyrics, painterly clarinet lines, and a lilting piano that cradles the listener over a menacing quarry of strings. The spiraling waltz of â€śEpilepsy Is Dancingâ€ť and the joyful ricochets of â€śKiss My Nameâ€ť are to follow. The recordâ€™s centerpiece, â€śAnother Worldâ€ť traces despair in the face of a vanishing landscape. The hypnotic vocal on â€śDust and Waterâ€ť unfurls like smoke, and the track â€śEvergladeâ€ť, co-arranged with Nico Muhly, concludes the album. Here Antony realizes that his â€śâ€¦Limbs (have) stopped Crying for Homeâ€¦â€ť and falls into a musical reverie that seems inspired in its sense of pastoral abandon by the legendary Butoh dancer Kazuo Ohno, whose eerie portrait graces the cover of The Crying Light .
Antony and the Johnsonsâ€™ music bridges the gap between avant-classical music and the blues, and Antony and his band have sold out performances from Carnegie Hall to the Apollo. The Crying Light may become one of those albums that becomes emblematic of its time, a reflection of the momentous changes that we are facing, within each of our private worlds as well as collectively, and how we are summoning the courage to start moving through them.
The Crying Light will be released January 20th, 2009.