Antony and the Johnsons Swanlights

Antony and the Johnsons Swanlights
On last year's The Crying Light, NYC's Antony Hegarty presented ten achy-breaky tracks dealing with our dying Earth. On Swanlights (his fourth LP), Antony has taken more of a direct route. Hegarty explores similar themes throughout his paintings, collages, photos, writings and 11 more passion-fruited songs. Incredibly, the title track and "The Spirit Was Gone" show him taking on more emotional weight, often sounding fragile and dominant within the same song. More than ever, Antony comes off as an absolute master of his craft; he emotes infinite ecstasy on "I'm in Love" and "Thank You for Your Love," while "Fletta," a duet with Björk, shows him harnessing her free energy in a way that many of her collaborators simply couldn't. Swanlights is gorgeous and grotesque, avant-garde and familiar, but most of all, it comes off as a piece of work that only an artist with this much focus and control can produce. (Secretly Canadian)