A splendid sonic 'World'

Daily Arts Writer
Published October 12, 2008

Antony & the Johnsons
Another World
Secretly Canadian

3 stars out of 5

Antony & the Johnsons has been a fixture of the New York City indie scene since the late 1990s and has since emerged as one of the city’s more visible performers — and not just because frontman Antony Hegarty is transgendered. Airy and majestic, the band uses a wide range of instruments, from cello to horns to violin, along with the standard guitar, bass and drums setup. The band's most recent EP, Another World, precedes its upcoming full-length The Crying Light, due out in Jan. 2009.

The short but sincere disc opens with its title track “Another World." The cut is bare and resonating, with Antony's deep voice hovering over unadorned piano keys. This calculated simplicity highlights the song's sad lament as Antony mourns the loss of the world around him: “Still have too many dreams, never seen the light / I need another place, a place where I can go.” Though utterly down-lifting, the track contains a certain marked charm despite its depressing nature.

The more upbeat "Shake That Devil" opens with a short, non-musical intro, simply showcasing Antony's sing-song vocals over slight distortion before a consistent drumline and full band carry the song forward. A saxophone solo is one of the better moments, imbuing the track with a more playful flair than any of the EP's other selections.

With Another World, Antony and the Johnsons prove they have not lost their ability to create resplendent works of art, and the disc is an encouraging preview of what their future collections have to offer.