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# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Antony And The Johnsons - Swanlights

  by Lisa Torem

published: 11 / 10 / 2010

Antony And The Johnsons - Swanlights
Label: Rough Trade
Format: CD


Subtle and captivating fourth album from the much acclaimed Antony and the Johnsons

Antony’s second album, 'I am a Bird Now' won the UK’s revered Mercury Music Prize. His third album, 'The Crying Light', received best list recommendations internationally. But, Antony is the type of artist who never seems terribly worried about awards or even fame. Rather, his artistic sense is so strong and personal, you wonder whether he was simply composing in his living room when some trespasser snucked a recording device in his path. The album holds some surprises. Singer Bjork is a guest singer on the track, ‘Fletta’ – she and Antony perform an emotional duet. But then there are some things that transpire that are predictable, though not in the musical realm. Antony is a deep thinker and remains committed to his conscience. He is worried about the environment and social injustices and his music, interviews and videos often address that piece of him. That said, even if you didn’t know a thing about him, you would most likely be entranced by his captivating voice and atypical way of approaching composition. I had only listened to one of his albums, and then, the other day walked into my local record store and heard his transformational vocals on ‘I am a Bird Now.’ That voice deserves full attention and I stopped leafing through vinyl to give it its due. But, that voice shares the stage with a host of intimate orchestration. The gorgeous, yet grabbing innocence of ‘Bird’ is matched with ‘The Crying Light’. The album can hardly be defined, though, by distinct tracks. The overall feel is created by its subtleties; fuzzy guitars, dreamy drones, swirls of woodwinds and repetitive grasps for meaning through singular words. ‘Everything Is New’ does deserve considerable attention, though, because the piano is so delicate and reflective of Debussy, yet incredibly original. ‘Swanlights’ is tearfully raw, though Antony does examine succinctly the visceral nature of the piece: “It’s the reflection of light on the surface of the water at night. It’s the moment when a spirit jumps out of a body and turns into a violet ghost.” Aaah, what a mind! ‘Thank You For You Love’ could have been maudlin or a cliché done by someone other than Antony. But, it’s profound and moving as well. It’s a genuine plethora of humility and hope for the future. In fact, even when there are momentary moments of darkness and vulnerability, as in ‘I Want to Help,’ you get the impression Antony will see a dazzling light at the end of his ambitious tunnel. The ‘Swanlights’ book containing painting, drawings, collages, photography and writings; another talent Antony possesses, will also be available. What ‘Swanlights’ represents is a whole new level of unparalleled growth within the canon of a highly original composer/vocalist.

Track Listing:-
1 Everything Is New
2 The Great White Ocean
3 Ghost
4 I'm In Love
5 Violetta
6 Swanlights
7 The Spirit Was Gone
8 Thank You For Your Love
9 Flétta
10 Salt Silver Oxygen
11 Christina's Farm

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The Crying Light (2009)
Only gently progressive third album from Antony and the Johnsons, which while not moving on as much as many would have expected from his Mercury prize-winning last record, 'I Am A Bird, Now', remains a serious contribution from an unique talent

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