18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
The Hatching Of A New Bird,
This review is from: I Am A Bird Now (Audio CD)
Well, this may be one of those "love-it-or-hate-it" cases, the kind of album you'll consider an extraordinary discovery that made your year, or the kind of music that makes unexplainable how the friend who turned you onto it, loves it so much.
What everyone might agree on, though, is that such strong reaction to it comes from one source, the band's powerful presence and distinct identity.
Practically every song hits a deep chord on you, each a different one, and a huge part of it is the exceptional dramatic range of Antony's voice, which infuses of a certain pouring of his heart. Imagine a more romantic and desperate, yet less operatic, Rufus Wainwright, without necessarily going over the edge.
Whether "Hope There's Someone" with its mournful tone, or the gorgeous and chant-like "My Lady Story," or "For Today I'm Not A Boy" which is lovely and difficult -and a high moment in this album- as the music and the lyrics build together. Just in the first three songs, the group shows that they are a new and genuine sensibility.
As comparisons go, Antony and the Johnsons belong to the same emotive thread than the Tindersticks, most present in "Fistful of Love", and taking his own path on "You Are My Sister." Yet, they would not be out of place backing Marianne Faithful or doing covers of Kurt Weil's songs.
The rest of the songs don't fall far behind from those I mentioned. Each may end up your favorite, and can be the code to a secret frequency in your heart, evoked not necessarily by the lyrics but a consistent -not repetitive- feel of being late-night and being alone remembering your life.
What is puzzling and particular about Antony is the innocence of his lyrics, even when addressing dark personal places, being just as true as the weary heart that he evokes in his voice.
All in all, this is the most impressive album I heard all year, even if it's so likely to divide the waters between worshipers and those stunned that anyone may like it.