I honestly believe "Do you remember Antony & The Johnsons?" is the least necessary question in the english language. Antony Hegarty's voice sticks in your memory like the smell of your grandparent's house. Except it is (most likely) much, much more pleasant.
Antony and The Johnsons' latest album, 'Swanlights,' is absolutely fantastic. I recall quite enjoying 'I am a Bird Now' back in the day, but I was only about 16 and probably didn't appreciate it to the fullest. I think I even laughed at songs like "For Today I am a Boy." I never got into the next release, 'The Crying Light,' as much, but some songs really stood out as important. The video for the song "Epilepsy is Dancing" is still one of the greatest around (if a little over-the-top):
So, the new album manages to achieve songs which are a lot more esoteric in sound. Antony's voice is still front and center as it should be (except for one song which feature Bjork in lead vocals- who's going to complain about that?), but the style of sounds and instrumentation is a lot more diverse. From the acoustic guitar balladry of 'The Great White Ocean' to the psychadelic shoegaze-esque title track, 'Swanlights' covers a lot more ground than his morose previous offerings. It's pretty refreshing to hear Antony sing an upbeat song that isn't about domestic violence a la "I feel your fist, and I know it's out of love!"
Overall, fans of Antony's previous work should like this, unless they really are the saddest sacks around. And if you're not a fan of Antony's previous work, fuck right off. You should be. My only inconsequential qualm is that the album cover doesn't follow the high contrast black and white photo aesthetic. As I said, inconsequential.
Antony & The Johnsons - Swanlights gets
9 LUKES OUT OF 10