Antony and the Johnsons – The Lake

This cd single can be considered as a taster for Antony’s anticipated second album. It contains three new tracks, one of which will be included on the upcoming album ‘I Am a Bird Now’ (February 2005). It is the follow up to the praised self-titled debut of the ‘utterly genderqueer musical sensation’.

This release has a special cover: an unknown photograph from 1974 by Peter Hujar showing model Candy Darling, who used to hang around in Andy Warhol circles. ‘The lake’ is an adaptation of the classic dark poem by Edgar Allan Poe, a track which you may know from the split live cd with Current 93. A typical Antony performance, highly melancholic and dramatic, sung is his typical expressive manner. “My infant spirit would awake / To the terror of the lone lake.” A sensitive piano ballad, which gains in atmosphere through the additional strings. A highlight in his oeuvre.

The next track will be part of the new album. The intro of ‘Fistfull of love’ is sung/spoken by no one less than Lou Reed. Antony soon takes over, in a song which turns out to be quite different than his usual minimal romantic material. At first is has a traditional pop/rock sound, with a nostalgic 70’s mood, reminding me of Lou Reed material. After a while a triumphant horn section starts to dominate the song. Both the trumpets and saxophones as Antony’s vocals gain in strength, and the whole piece turns into a joyous classic soul anthem, with Antony crooning ‘Give a little bit of your love’ and ‘Oh baby’.

Things quickly slow down with the slow piece ‘The horror has gone’. A soft minimal piano ballad, which is introspective and moody. Antony is certainly no artist that will be appreciated by everyone, which his dramatic songs and peculiar style. But on ‘The lake’ he proves again that he has an unique voice and an ability to write passionate music.

artist: Antony and the Johnsons
label: Secretly Canadian
details: 3 songs, 2004