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Boomkat Product Review:
Since the release and subsequent ubiquity of her breakthrough album, I Am A Bird Now, Antony Hegarty seems to have appeared on an endless list of other people's records, featuring heavily on the Hercules & Love Affair long-player, and making notable appearances on Bjork's Volta album.
On certain collaborations Hegarty's voice has seemed a tad out of place (My Robot Friend's 'Rapture' being a particularly strange one), and that's surely because her voice is now so inextricably tethered to the aching piano arrangements of pieces like 'Hope There's Someone' and 'Cripple And The Starfish' that it's strange to hear her tremulous falsetto put to any other use. The Crying Light is an expansion of - rather than a departure from - established Johnsons territory: not content to languish in the sweet, lyrical melancholy established by prior works, Antony embraces a sound that marries desperately lovely orchestral arrangements with abstract, dissonant timbres - embracing a juxtaposition between exquisite ornature and dark awkwardness. This manifests itself on 'One Dove' via a number of surreal anharmonic interjections from an array of unlikely instruments (what sounds like shakuhachi, dulcimer and possibly even some fragments of electronics), while 'Another World' combines sparsely phrased, plaintive chord changes with soaring discordant tones in the background, making for a pained counterpoint to Antony's supremely elegant vocal. The Crying Light might lack the celebrity guest spots of I Am A Bird Now (there's no Lou Reed or Rufus Wainwright on here), but musically, lyrically and in terms of overall vision it's a considerable step forwards.