Antony and the Johnsons: Swanlight (Spunk)

 |   |  1 min read

Antony and the Johnsons: Swanlights
Antony and the Johnsons: Swanlight (Spunk)

This fourth album by Antony confirms what many already suspect, that a little of this divine, sublime voice can go a long way. All that high drama and quivering vocals, the allusive lyrics, the symphonic strings . . . It's all high-wire emotion and, as with Rufus Wainwright's All Days Are Nights, over the long haul it becomes demanding and undifferentiated.

To his credit however Antony appreciates that and mixes things up a little here: the gentle Great White Ocean is as close as he has come to a simple, understated pop ballad; there are backwards guitars and discordant intro to the fascinating, ambient and slightly-delic title track; Ghost is dramatically underpinned by a minimalist-like piano figure; and the final seven minute-plus Christina's Farm is gorgeous, heart-stopping reverie over gentle piano which refers back to many of the lyrical themes.

But Thank You For Your Love is a repetitive stab at soul (he's no Al Green); the duet with Bjork on Fletta is shapeless art music, and Salt Silver Oxygen (“the flying horse carries me across the shy . . .”) is an adolescent poem set to a monotonous vocal line propped up by orchestration.

There is a theme of environmental concern apparently (he's published a 144-page book of his art and writing as a special edition) but that's hard to discern – although themes of death, passing and dream-states are evident.

Small and selective doses rather than a large gulp.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Lucinda Williams: Live from Austin, Tx 1989 (DVD, New West)

Lucinda Williams: Live from Austin, Tx 1989 (DVD, New West)

With the great Lucinda Williams due to return for long overdue concerts, it seems only right to draw attention to this DVD of her first appearance on the Austin City Limits telelvison show in 1989.... > Read more

Smashing Pumpkins: Oceania (Martha's Music)

Smashing Pumpkins: Oceania (Martha's Music)

When Smashing Pumpkins splash down for an Auckland concert at Vector on August 4 -- from whatever planet mainman Billy Corgan has been on lately -- it will be on the back of this album which some... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

RANDOM RADIO (2015-16): Archived radio spots

RANDOM RADIO (2015-16): Archived radio spots

Because Elsewhere is so eclectic in its taste, Graham is frequently invited on to various radio programmes to discuss music, great concerts and the passing of some greats (and there have been a few... > Read more

STYLE WARS by TONY SILVER (DVD, 2003)

STYLE WARS by TONY SILVER (DVD, 2003)

It's just a guess, but I doubt Krost Krist, Anakea and Ryus know who Taki 183 or Papi 184 were. That's a pity, because Taki 183 and Papi 184 started what Krost Krist and the others are... > Read more