Antony And The Johnsons: Imposingly Sad

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Thursday's Pick

  • Song: "Hope Mountain"
  • Artist: Antony & The Johnsons
  • CD: Another World EP
  • Genre: Pop
Antony and the Johnsons 300

Antony Hegarty powers "Hope Mountain" with the winsome gravitas of a tortured outsider. Don Felix Cervantes hide caption

toggle caption Don Felix Cervantes

For a performer who makes gender boundaries bend to his will, Antony Hegarty steers well clear of camp, instead opting to power his dreamlike dirges with the winsome gravitas of a tortured outsider. Hegarty's persona revolves around a futile search for comfort, acceptance and even forgiveness, and in the process, he constantly tiptoes on the line separating melancholy and mawkishness. But he stays on the right side of it by infusing his music with palpable heartsickness.

It's been three years since Antony & The Johnsons' beloved full-length debut, I Am a Bird Now, and yet he's returned with only a five-song tease: The Another World EP features the first single from an album to be released early next year, while tacking on four extra songs. The best of those, "Hope Mountain," finds Hegarty offering up only a vague sketch of what lands somewhere between a fairy tale and a folk tale, with some whispers of deeper spiritual meaning at the end. But it may be his most wrenchingly gorgeous song yet, thanks in large part to a piano hook that's as catchy as it is imposingly, almost oppressively sad.

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