Antony and the Johnsons – Cut the World – album review

Antony and the Johnsons – Cut the World (Secretly Canadian / Rough Trade)
CD / 2 x LP / DL
Available 6 August 2012

This official live release from Antony and the Johnsons shows off  perfectly his songs, vocal dexterity, wit and skills as an arranger. 

Anthony floored me in 2005 with his jaw dropping ”ËœI Am a Bird Now’ album, since then I have found it incredibly difficult to say a word against him.

Having witnessed his otherworldly presence in the flesh on several occasions, I can truly attest to the fact that he excels his achievements on record with every live performance and it is long overdue that he provides us with an official live release to substantiate my claims of this.

”ËœCut the World’ was recorded with the Danish National Chamber Orchestra in Copenhagen in 2011 and is a stunning display of his vocal dexterity, placed alongside his gentle wit and skills as an arranger. His torch songs and tales of unparalleled loneliness have never sounded so perfect and wonderfully constructed.

With his precarious and unique delivery, he chooses to use over seven minutes of the running time to speak of transgender woes in the face of religion, of the cyclical phases of the moon and reincarnation. What may seem on paper like a rather self-indulgent exercise comes across to the listener as if he is speaking directly to you, something that reaches far beyond the banter which usually manifests itself onstage at concerts (”ËœGoodnight Springdon! There will be no encore!’).

He selects gracefully and appropriately from his back catalogue. With ”ËœAnother World’, ”ËœCripple and the Starfish’ and ”ËœI Fell in Love with a Dead Boy’ taking on chilling and deeply effecting new forms.

Antony has succeeded in enhancing an already exceptional canon of material, which merely accentuates his skill as an artist.

From his early days as Lou Reed‘s backing singer (see Reed’s live album ”ËœAnimal Serenade’ for a taste of how spectacular this pairing was) to the legend which he has now become, his rise has been worthy and deserved and it’s such a delight to revel in this absolutely splendorous release.

Despite the soft aesthetic, Antony’s lyrics delve into a darkness which would make many lesser musicians balk at the prospect of even alluding to. He’s as ballsy and punk rock as they come, and that’s one of the reasons that I love him. If you were to spend an hour in his company courtesy of ”ËœCut the World’, I imagine that you may feel the same.

Today, Antony released the new video for ”ËœCut The World’ featuring the exceptional Willem Dafoe and Game of Throne’s Carice van Houten. It’s not for the squeamish amongst you.

All words by Colin McCracken. You can read more from Colin on LTW here, on his website or follow him on Twitter.

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Colin McCracken is an Irish writer and cinematic obsessive who writes extensively about movies on a daily basis for his website Zombiehamster.com. He is equally passionate about vinyl (he used to run an independent record store), literature, live music and film soundtracks. He can also be found regularly on twitter as @zombiehamster.

1 COMMENT

  1. […] Last week Antony released the new video for \’Cut The World\’ featuring Willem Dafoe and Game of Throne\’s Carice van Houten. It\’s not for the squeamish. We reviewed Anthony & the Johnsons new album this week here. […]

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