Antony and the Johnsons: The Crying Light

Some artists can get away with recording the same album over and over again. Antony Hegerty’s distinctive voice almost requires the most minimal of accompaniment.

So it’s no surprise The Crying Light contains more of the same sparse orchestral arrangements employed on previous albums. A full band pops up once, but for the most part, it’s Hegerty, a piano and a few other instruments to punctuate the open spaces.

That makes it all too easy to compare The Crying Light with the critically-lauded I Am a Bird Now, and personally, it’s not looking good for the former.

Hegerty can write a poignant piece of music like anyone’s business, but the kind of focus that served I Am a Bird Now so well is missing here. The album is just a bit too dour.

It does have its moments. The title track is a wonderful showcase for Hegerty’s unsettling vibrato. "Epilepsy Is Dancing" is an evocative title, but the song itself is sweetly lilting. "Aeon" eschews the piano for guitars, with Hegerty digging deep into his inner gospel singer.

The rest of the album revels a bit too much in transparency, pushing less to be less, not more. Hegerty has a compelling voice, but the compelling music that usually goes along with it isn’t quite there on The Crying Light.