Album: Antony and the Johnsons, The Crying Light, (Rough Trade)

The cryptic factor: Antony Hegarty gets shy on us
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The Independent Culture

"Oh no, I've said too much..." We all know that feeling, at one time or another. And one suspects that Antony Hegarty knows it better than most.

'I Am a Bird Now', the deserved Mercury prize winner in 2005, was nakedly autobiographical. Or at least so it seemed, with heart-wrenching lyrics about being trapped in the wrong gender, domestic violence, sisterly love and fear of mortality.

Perhaps scalded by the intrusive questions into his personal life which it invited, the third Antony and the Johnsons album is far more cryptic than the two before it.

Musically, following forays into electro-disco with My Robot Friend, Björk and Hercules and Love Affair, it's a return to the baroque gospel which made Antony's name: minimal cello and piano arrangements, and that idiosyncratic, tremulous warble in full effect.

Most startling of all is the moment on "Aeon" when, his voice as raw as Elvis's on "If I Can Dream", Hegarty vows to "hold that man I love so much", and the cryptic allusions crumble to dust.

Pick of the Album: For a nominal fee: 'Kiss My Name'

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