Out Today: Antony and the Johnsons

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ANTONY AND THE JOHNSONS
Swanlights
(Secretly Canadian)

Antony Hegarty often comes off like the world’s most self-indulgent artist. His fourth album, Swanlights, is no different, darting from sparse, haunting song-sketches to unexpected classicist pop gems. Opener “Everything Is New” captures the spirit of the record, spinning a lyrical web mirrored in the song’s emotional sweep. Building off Hegarty’s voice and a spare piano, the track runs through a series of emotions — from fear and confusion to anger, hope, and ecstasy. Along the way, instruments are added until the song gently folds back on itself. Swanlights echoes this lyrical and sonic progression in varied guises. “Ghost” is a stunning study in dynamics, with soaring vocals and strings underpinned by a racing piano line. “I’m in Love” pairs a circuitous organ figure with jazzy bass and swirling atmospherics. And Björk joins Hegarty in “Fletta,” likely because she’s the only other singer so comfortable in his company. —Nicholas Hall

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