Antony & The Johnsons (Rough Trade)
It opens, of course, with That Voice: soaring above a piano and cello, a man’s voice pitched like a female alto, quavering with vibrato.
The song is Her Eyes Are Underneath The Ground, perhaps a eulogy to the singer’s mother and perhaps a melancholy musing on the cycle of life on earth.
At the start of Antony Hegarty’s third album, the most unlikely winner of the Mercury Music Prize in the award’s 17-year history hits the ground running.
The Crying Light is at its worst when Hegarty puts too much emphasis on that very singular voice.
Aeon sits halfway between torch song and vintage soul balladry, but the part-vamped vocal doesn’t do any favours.
And while the drone-dominated Dust And Water is an interesting experiment, it’s too much about the singer and not enough about the song.
Happily, Hegarty over-eggs his pudding less frequently than he might.
The likes of Another World and the vaguely Talk Talk-esque One Dove are defined not by exaggeration but beautifully pitched understatement; the same can be said for gorgeous closer Everglade, carried along by Nico Muhly’s orchestral arrangement.
Rich and strange. WILL FULFORD-JONES