ANTONY & THE JOHNSONS – The Crying Light (2009)

Antony & The Johnsons - The Crying Light There’s a distinct difference between a singer with a voice that’s a bit rough around the edges and a singer that’s an acquired taste. Bob Dylan is rough around the edges. Tom Waits is an acquired taste. And of these two categories, Antony Hegarty squarely falls into the latter. His soft, vibrato-soaked warbling is just as likely to register as distinctively off-putting to some as it is beautifully transcendent to others.

There’s a distinct stylistic difference between The Crying Light and the band’s previous album, the Mercury-Prize-winning album I Am A Bird Now – namely, that I Am A Bird Now is a very soulful, sometimes jazzy (a la Fistfull of Love) collection of songs, while The Crying Light consists primarily of sweet and elegant chamber pop. It’s a joy to listen to, and will definitely be one of the best albums of 2009 (which, considering it’s only January, is saying a lot).

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