Antony & the Johnsons, Matteah Baim | The Vic | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Antony & the Johnsons, Matteah Baim All Ages Critic's Choice Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Soundboard

When: Thu., Feb. 12, 7:30 p.m. 2009

It’s hard to decide what’s more striking about Antony & the Johnsons’ new The Crying Light (Secretly Canadian)—singer Antony Hegarty’s absolute faith in music as a medium or the music itself. In interviews Hegarty has been explaining the motifs and motivations that underlie the album’s songs—he offers up a lot of heavy meditations on the natural world (he recently traveled to the North Pole) and on finding one’s place, or one’s peace, within it. It sounds like deluxe hippie fare until he explains that it’s a metaphor for his own struggle, as a transgender person, to find peace with and feel at home inside his own body. His trust that songs can hold something so big—and his trust that we’ll get it—makes The Crying Light feel more like a gift than something to casually throw on the stereo. And our careful consideration of that gift is well rewarded. Atop delicate, florid orchestrations full of swelling strings, Hegarty sings, in his quivering sob of a voice, about regeneration, deep bonds (one line in the title track is “I was born to adore you”), and finding family. The Crying Light is aflame with new life, rejoicing at its arrival, and is itself a blessed rebirth for an artist who’d already left himself little to prove. Matteah Baim opens. —Jessica Hopper

Price: $29

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