Earlier this year, balladeer Antony Hegarty revealed a starkly different side of his musical personality by lending his vocal talents to the New York disco outfit Hercules and Love Affair. Though it may have caught some off guard, given how little a track like “Blind” resembled anything off of the Mercury Prize winning I Am A Bird Now, it provided a glimpse at different aspects of the singer’s talents, proving himself to be not only a man of great musical ability, but of versatility as well. Still, it may not have been quite enough to satiate those who have been eagerly awaiting another album with the Johnsons, which will still be a few months yet. Yet while The Crying Light, Antony and the Johnson’s forthcoming full-length, rests on the horizon with a January release date, Hegarty & Co. have offered up a five-track EP of stunning material that showcases first single “Another World” and four other brilliant tracks that only serve to show even greater depths to Hegarty’s melodic persona.
The minimal title track has a stark quality to 2005’s standout “Hope There’s Someone,” with its gently ringing piano chords and melancholic tone. It’s a bittersweet rumination on life and death (and possibly global warming), in which Hegarty croons “I need another world/ this one’s nearly gone” before he sings of the birds and plants he’ll miss. It’s a weird kind of limbo, in which he wishes to escape but contrarily understands what he’d leave behind. That Hegarty is able to so delicately touch upon this gray area speaks to his creativity as a songwriter, and how affecting his compositions are.
On a completely different level, “Shake That Devil” shows off an even weirder side of the crooner, with an a cappella performance giving way to a distorted drone, and eventually a hot, hip-shaking R&B beat. It’s one of his weirdest and one of his most fun, simultaneously. “Crackagen” and “Sing For Me” are both on the shorter side of things, but both equally worthy inclusions, lovely melodies and good mixtape fodder. And “Hope Mountain” closes the EP in much the same way that “Another World” does, minimally and delicately, but no less beautifully. Another World may well prove the uncovering of a new musical path of sorts for Antony, though the elements that make his music so unique are present and in full force. Merely that he offers another five fantastic songs is enough to satisfy these ears.
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Video: “Another World”
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.