Swanlights

Studio Album by released in 2010

Swanlights review

Antony And The Johnsons’ unbelievable music

In most cases bands are formed around one or more vocalists who are considered their leaders, write lyrics and perform all or the main vocal parts on albums. In the case of Antony And The Johnsons, however, the vocalist is a bit more than just a leader. Antony Hegarty is the face, the soul and naturally the voice of this collective, he is its inspiration and the main moving power. When Antony was depressed Antony And The Johnsons’ music was filled with sadness and hopelessness. Last year, when he turned his thoughts to nature and the man’s bad treating it the album The Crying Light was released to cause the listeners think of the same things. This year Antony has found strength to reflect on his family and record an album about love, of course, not easy one, but endlessly pure and sincere. This is exactly the way to shortly characterize the marvelous record Swanlights, though, conventionally enough because it is only possible to perceive its richness only by listening to this unbelievable music.

Swanlights is even farther from any limitations

Antony And The Johnsons goes farther and farther from frames and limitations with each of its creations, be it the style, lyrics, song structures or the melody. The only thing standing behind all Antony Hegarty’s music is creation, the endless self-expression, and the album Swanlights is no exception in this respect. Perhaps, this will be the record to be called one of his most significant works. The very first track Everything Is New suggests at once that we forget about the past only with its title and invites us into the world of recollections, ideas, feelings, laugh and tears. Antony’s voice remains the main instrument throughout the album, and when he is silent, it is up to cello, flute, guitar and of course his black and white keys to finish the thought for him with the latter having become his body’s continuation a long time ago. Guitar and cello serve the background for a deeply touching addressing to family members on The Great White Ocean, while the unexpectedly impetuous piano opens the song Ghost with a very complicated tune full of emotions. An inconsistent rhythm, a bass line disagreeing with synthesizer and flute – it is all the wonderful composition I'm In Love followed by a half-a-minute long interlude Violetta, giving way to the title track. It is a splendid monumental piece lasting more than 6 minutes which one wants to listen again and again to understand all the tiniest changes of this irregular tune, which turns into a most beautiful orchestra sonic flow. Another highlight is Thank You For Your Love, in which vulnerability meets the deepest thankfulness. The album closes with Christina's Farm, a track lasting over seven minutes in which you start taking life as an endless miracle.

A boundless scope to reflect on love, life and death

Antony And The Johnsons’ music is pure emotions from the point of view of logics and common sense. The repetition of words and entire sentences, of melodic patterns, the voice sounding as in opera, then whispering, then crying – it all makes each piece on Swanlights something which goes beyond the limits of ordinary music comprehension. More likely these sound combinations can be associated with such notions as flowing, water, river, a brook, crying. The lyrics becomes one whole unit with the melody here, and it is simply impossible to remain indifferent to this music. At concerts, when Antony And The Johnsons perform this or that song people always keep quiet starting to applaud only after a pause when the song is already finished, not to destroy the intimate atmosphere Antony creates with his unique voice. The album Swanlights requires maximum attention, too. One needs to hear the word, notice the melody changing and be ready for the unexpected because the emotions are not a very predictable thing. Anyways, this record leaves a boundless scope to reflect on love, life and death as do all the creations of the inimitable Antony And The Johnsons.