Antony & the Johnsons
Antony & the Johnsons
/secretly canadian; 2004/

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I do realize i've stopped telling you about my life. It'll come back some day, when the records i review aren't as meaningful as these ones.

Antony is a diva, hailing from the burlesque cabarets of NYC, places where men sing Billie Holiday standards with tears in their eyes. It's acting, but impressive, powerful acting. I find this record, the debut album of Antony and his band the Johnsons (who are all young and beautiful and playing with the best artists in America) overwhelming. He succeeds in piercing his way to my guts like only a few artists can. It sounds classy like nice cabaret music, with a piano and strings, light drums and Antony's affecting voice.

Of course it's hard to tell where the acting stops, but i guess that's what makes an actor better than another. A couple of songs on the record sound a bit sub-par in comparison to the more impressive ones, but these ones are among the best i've heard in a really long time. My favourites right now are "Cripple and the Starfish," "Atrocities" which sounds like an alternate theme song for Edward Scissorhands, "River of Sorrow," the Weill-esque "Hitler in my Heart" and the slow opener "Twilight."

This is a singular record, but much more than that, it's a near-perfect introduction to one of today's most impressive artists.

-Barbara H

/oct 1st 2004/