Antony and the Johnsons

Album Title: I Am A Bird Now
Release Date: February 1, 2005
Genre: Indie Rock
Judging by the post-operative buzz and the packaging of "I Am A Bird Now", the sophomore release from Antony and the Johnsons, I wrongly assumed that this was going to sound something like the Scissor Sisters or worse, Chingy. I was off by a wide margin, and eternally grateful for that. Antony and the Johnsons are led by, yes, Antony, who is a New York-based gender bender known for his÷ gender bending ways. His music is minimal, slightly haunting, and anchored by delicate piano parts and tortured vocals. Dealing with topics of regret and alienation, Antony is an emotive timebomb, sprouting soft bullets from all sides. You can't help get caught up in these words and it makes for a very engaging listen. Antony is unique in that his quavery vocals take cues from R'n'B singers like Al Green rather than the Jack Whites and Win Butlers of the world, and that's a refreshing change to be certain. Did I mention the guest sympathizers? Rufus Wainwright sings along on "What Can I Do?", Lou Reed lends some backing spew to "Fistful of Love" and Boy George tempers "You Are My Sister", an absolute brilliant track that reveals layers of subtext with each additional listen. All told, "I Am A Bird Now" is penetrating work that takes dead aim at the heart and manages to lull the listener into a world unknown by mostůa remarkable feat at any level. An early candidate of 2005 "best of" lists÷ and we're only in February.

Writer: Cameron Gordon

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