- The terrain of the heart can be a stark, fearful place, and few singers navigate that space with as much sensitivity as Antony Hegarty. Like Antony & the Johnsons' Mercury Prize-winning debut, I AM A BIRD NOW, its follow-up, THE CRYING LIGHT, is a heartrending journey through human need, desire, transformation, and our confrontation with loneliness and death. These lyrical explorations are expressed in spare, piano-led songs that showcase Antony's fragile, elegantly expressive voice.
- THE CRYING LIGHT is a bit more adventurous in its arrangements than its predecessor, adding a stuttering drumbeat and a dancing flute line to "Kiss My Name," horns to "Epilepsy Is Dancing," and tasteful orchestrations throughout. Yet the songs are still remarkably minimal, creating a feeling of lonely space that reinforces the song's lyrical content. In their meditations on mortality, elemental imagery, and spellbinding melodies, songs like "Another World" and "Water and Dust" are powerful enough to slice straight through the body. From start to finish, Antony and the Johnsons' sophomore release achieves an almost lethal beauty.
Rolling Stone (p.68) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "Antony is an original, with a dark vision that never skimps on beauty."
Spin (p.81) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "The album's opening note, quivering and clinging like a spider in a wind-buffeted web, could send an unprepared listener to the brink of tears."
Spin (p.31) - Ranked #18 in Spin's "40 Best Albums Of 2009" -- "[Hegarty] seeks transcendence in tortured extremes..."
Alternative Press (p.134) - "Moody orchestral pieces teeming with epic string arrangements, Bacharach-inspired piano plunking and Hegarty's vulnerable vibrato seep from such masterpieces as 'Daylight And The Sun.'"
Q (Magazine) (p.118) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "The album's centrepiece, 'Another World,' has already garnered praise for its dystopian vision, casting Hegarty as ghostly eco-prophet..."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.104) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "The burlesque bard has stripped bare, revealing new, more wayward routes to the tender transcendence that is his most potent calling card."
Paste (magazine) (p.56) - "The intimacy of the Johnson's sound is intensified by golden-boy avant-classical composer Nico Muhly's arrangements. Each song feels like one in a string of tellurian secrets."
Record Collector (magazine) (p.86) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "With an orchestra replacing many of the starker piano passages found on BIRD, it's a softer Antony, but his devastating voice remains to the fore....Beautifully, and with a sense of keen economy, Antony Hegarty thankfully renders you speechless."